Serving the Northern Rivers of NSW

The 2 metre repeater at Parrots Nest is available and the 70cm repeater is available too but the signal is a bit low. The 6 metre repeater is not available at present.

The results of the VK Shires Contest have been released. These show that the winner of the Single Op All Band All Mode category was club member Rhod Rowe, VK2TTL. Well done Rhod, outstanding effort.

SARC members Pat VK2FAAD & Graeme VK2QJ met up at Junction Hill Friday morning, before heading Coutts Crossing to meet up with Graham VK2BWC for a coffee & snack. We then made our way to Vista Point, arriving just in time for lunch, followed by treats supplied by Graham.

The weather threatened but held out all afternoon, allowing all antenna 6m – 3cm bands to be set up by nightfall, Graham assisted Pat to set up his newly completed camper trailer and tower configuration, which proved to be very successful, making setup much easier. Graham headed home late afternoon, after an enjoyable time assisting with setup. Thanks for your help Graham.

Unfortunately due to work commitments, David VK2JUB was again unable to make it for this event, leaving just Pat & myself to cover all eight (8) bands. Tests of the Brisbane beacon (300km) late Friday afternoon was successful on 70cm, 23cm, 13cm, 9cm & 3cm bands, as were a few 23cm & 9cm on-air tests into Brisbane.

After nightfall we kicked back, cooking our evening meal before settling in for a few light refreshments and a chat, while keeping warm out of the wind. It wasn’t long before we cranked up the heater and migrated inside where it was much warmer. The outside temperature dropped quickly Friday night with temperature falling to around -5 Deg C, and heavy frost Saturday morning, the biggest we have both seen up at Vista. Once things warmed up, Pat finished setup of the 2m & 70cm station, before we conducted a few more on-air testing of most bands.

The event started well with various stations worked, including several portable VK4s, things continued well for the first 8Hrs, until most portable stations packed up and headed home, things soon quietened off after that. Late Saturday night we were on track for our highest ever score, with an average of over 9,200 points per hour scored for the first 10hrs. This was not to be, although we still managed our third highest Field Day score. Col VK4UV & Kevin VK4UH made the trip out portable to Mt Mowbullan, were contacts were made on 23cm, 9cm, 6cm & 3cm at a distance of 370km, with the 6cm contact being the first for my IC-905 & SGLabs amplifier, one would have to be very please with this result.

Trevor VK4AFL provided several 305km contacts on 23c & 9cm, Scott VK4I was worked on 6m, 2m, 23cm & 13cm at 314km. Rod VK4VU was worked at almost 300km on 23cm using a single gridpak mounted on a tripod on his back deck, using just 10w. Portable stations VK4B & VK4WIE were also regular contacts, along with several home stations, too many to list. Sunday morning saw Doug VK4OE working portable on 6m & 9cm from Mt Coot-tha (305km). Several VK2 portable & home stations also provided regular contacts, VK2XI portable, VK2ZB portable, VK2AMT, VK2DLR, VK2ELH, VK2TTL, VK2VL, VK2XDS, VK2ZDR, and many others.

We shut down just after midnight Saturday to catch a bit of shut eye, by then the outside temperature was around 2 Deg C. Around 3:30am Sunday morning the rain and wind arrived, making for a damp start to Sunday morning, the rain continued though until around 2pm Sunday afternoon. This rain impacted contacts on 2m, 70cm, 23cm & 13cm, but had little effect on 6m, 9cm & 3cm. VK4 contacts were down Sunday due to rain north of Vista affecting signals. During the event the higher band performed well with contacts of 370km on 23cm and 9cm, 6cm & 3cm, and over 314km on 13cm.

We packed down Sunday after the event completion, & between the rain showers, before heading off the hill just after 15:00pm, stopping at Coutts Crossing for a quick break before I made it home around 18:30, with Pat arriving home around 19:30.

As always, it was a great weekend on a hilltop, flying the flag for SARC, & doing what we enjoy, we are looking forward to the Spring Field Day in late November.

Thanks to all that supported & made contact with us during the event, without you it would be nothing.
Regards Graeme VK2QJ

The Diamond W-735 is a dual band wire antenna covering 80 and 40 metres. The choke traps act as loading coils on 80 metres, shortening the antenna length on this band, thus making this antenna a good choice where space is limited. An inverted-V installation would make fitting into small yards even easier. Initial tests display a SWR figure that is easily within the 3:1 SWR range of transceiver antenna tuners. Some users have said that the bandwidth is a bit limited but that’s not surprising considering it is a wire antenna with traps or coils. The bandwidth is wide enough that satisfactory SWR can be achieved easily with any tuner. Tuning is performed by folding excess wire rather than cutting it. On 3.604, the SWR is 1.6, on 3.575 it is 1.11, on 7.100 it is 2.2. The quality of the parts is extremely high and the weather sealing of the coils is excellent. It has a 1:1 balun and a SO-239 socket. The power handling is 1.2kW PEP. This antenna has outperformed longer G5RV and OCF dipoles at my location, even at a modest 6m height. It’s an antenna which has me active on 80m in particular, so it’s a keeper. It could also be used as a portable antenna with a single pole, as an inverted-V.

de Paul VK2AMT


Recently we have heard that operators in VK4 would really appreciate it if there was a beacon on 2 metres somewhere in our area, to aid propagation. This made me think and gather some information about beacons in general. As well as the information below, Amateur Radio NSW offer Morse training: the automated Morse practice transmission operates using the call sign VK2WI in the 80 metre band on 3699kHz. This also serves as a band condition indicator. The well known WWV time clocks have been used for many years to check band conditions. The station transmits on 5 MHz, 10 MHz, and 15 MHz; also on 2.5 MHz and 20 MHz. Propagation testing can also be carried out using WSPR, a part of the WSJT-X Weak Signal suite of programs. WSPR signals can be received and decoded over thousands of kilometres, often only using milliwatts of TX power. There are various websites that offer a “spotting service”. The best known one is PSK Reporter, mainly used to show digital FT8 signals. Another one is the Reverse Beacon Network website. Instead of beacons actively transmitting signals, the Reverse Beacon Network is a network of stations listening to the bands and reporting what stations they hear, when and how well. These are then plotted on a world map.

The WIA’s list of Beacons:


This list is very handy and I recommend printing it out and keeping it close by.

The ACMA’s list of Beacon Licences:


There is a list of HF Beacons under the International Beacon Project:


The International Beacon Project (IBP) is a worldwide network of radio propagation beacons. It consists of 18 continuous wave (CW) beacons operating on five designated frequencies in the high frequency (HF) band.

Beacon Approval Process:


Beacons and repeaters can be licensed through an application process through the ACMA who can supply a callsign. If anyone wants to operate an amateur beacon or repeater station, it must have an apparatus licence and the person operating the station must hold a recognised Standard or Advanced qualification.

An examination of the Band Plan supplied by the WIA:


This shows that there are small segments allocated for Beacons in various bands.

A basic beacon can be activated by utilising the Beacon feature in Yaesu’s FT857 and FT897 radios. This allows you to store a message in one of three storage areas. The message can be repeated with an interval that can be varied. The message is transmitted in CW. The speed of the CW transmission can be changed. A number of local SARC operators have tested this successfully on 2 metres, 70 cm and 6 metres. Frequencies used were: 144.230, 144.430, 432.425 and 50.285, CW mode. It is strictly experimental and short term. The transmissions are only likely to be received locally. An interesting experiment if you have one of those Yaesu rigs in the shack. I must admit that Beacons can be regarded as a grey area, licence wise. The frequencies we used were unassigned, which means that they have to be shared. Can a repeated transmission in CW be transmitted on any of our open frequencies? Do we need a Beacon Licence to do this? The feeling is that we can run in automatic mode, including “Repeater like” and “Beacon like” modes, provided that the signal contains station ID information and the transmission process is controlled. It may be possible for a Beacon on 2 metres to be established at one of our repeater sites, should the club approve such a project. Obviously, it would require a good deal of thought and the approval process started. Food for thought.

Cheers, Paul VK2AMT.

Flu precautions : update 1 August

Please stay away if you have a cold or flu-like symptoms.

We are still asking people to sign in as they arrive, using the book on the table at the door. Use of hand sanitiser and social distancing are still sensible things to do.

Get the SARC Newsletter – each Monday by email

To receive the SARC weekly Newsletter you DO NOT have to be a member, it’s available to all.
Simply send your email address to   with <please subscribe me> in the subject line.



Membership and Information

For more information about SARC activities and our membership form

Click Here:- SARC Membership & Information Brochure 2024

Or you can download any newsletter from the current and previous year – here: