I was first licensed in Sept 1986 as VK5ZWI whilst in Year 10 in High School and primarily operated ATV, VHF RTTY and AX.25 VHF Packet radio as well as Amateur Foxhunting from 1987 to ~2003. Then in 2004 I took a break from the hobby, maintaining only a basic 2m/70cm mobile station between 2004 and 2008. In 2008 I upgraded my callsign to VK5GR and slowly returned to the air, mostly on VHF/UHF. Finally in March 2016 I established a HF station at home, some 30 years after first getting my Amateur Radio License.
Within Amateur Radio I have been fortunate to experiment with a very diverse group of interests. In particular, I enjoy:
- Contesting (John Moyle Field Day, Remembrance Day Contest, Oceania DX Contest (through AREG) and several digital contests, notably the CQ WW and CQ WPX RTTY as well as Makrothen, Digiest, SPDX RTTY, Volta RTTY and some of the big PSK contests.
- High altitude balloon flights – doing flight operations and tracking/recovery (Visit the AREG Website for details of Project Horus)
- Community event communications – RPM200 Canoe Marathon event communicatuions network design and coordination (with AREG)
- HF Digital Mode Operation (the more exotic, the more fun!)
- VHF/UHF Mobile (find me on the VK5RSB repeater in Adelaide on 439.900 -5MHz 91.5Hz CTCSS and shortly 53.750 -1MHz)
- APRS (I run VK5GR-9 mobile and VK5GR-1 as a weather station (both off air due to faults at present)
- Foxhunting (vehicle based variety)
I also run a DXCluster for VK5 via Telnet to gate.vk5gr.id.au:7300 (and when I get new VHF antennas on 147.575MHz 1200 Baud packet as well).
How did I get into HF?
It wasnt until I started getting interested in HF Long Distance communications that I discovered the fun to be had chasing the rare ones. I can directly blame the VK0EK expedition for this, as only a few weeks after putting my first HF station to air I was lucky enough to work them on 40m RTTY (incidentally my only contact with them). That also ignited an interest in the RSGB IOTA program, which led me last year (September 2016) to dip my toe into the world of running simple expeditions. I took the family across to Kangaroo Island (IOTA OC-139), roughly 150km SW of home (and accessible by car ferry from the main land). Operating from OC-139 lit the fire for bigger and better things. Then, inspired by my good wife Sharon VK5FSAW, we decided to ‘go for broke’ and try something bold. Having always enjoyed visiting the more out of the way places, and considering it was a South Pacific Island that I hadn’t heard anyone operate from since I had been on the air, the idea to visit Niue was born.
So here we are – planning a trip to Niue OC-040. It will be one man holiday style, so it wont be like the big VP6EU or similar expeditions, but it will put E6 on the air with hopefully a semi respectable signal for all to try and work.
Wish me luck and good DX – de Grant VK5GR / E6AG!