During the weekly F-troop there are mentions of software, websites and solutions that are worth taking note of. This website attempts to document them.

If you're looking for inspiration, there's a list of all the posts here, otherwise use the search and any hash-tag that might be appropriate.

20210330 - F-troop is now on Reddit

posted Mar 29, 2021, 4:26 PM by Onno Benschop   [ updated Mar 29, 2021, 8:24 PM ]

The F-troop subreddit is now live at: /r/ftroop

And we have a new icon, thanks to Ben VK6NCB.


20210110 - YOU ARE INVITED - FT-500!!

posted Jan 10, 2021, 3:02 PM by Onno Benschop   [ updated Jan 10, 2021, 3:03 PM ]

No, it's NOT the latest RETRO Yaesu Transceiver - it's a celebration of 500 episodes of F-TROOP - the net for new and returning HAMS.

DATE: 23rd January 2021
TIME: Obviously F-troop starts at 8am Western, midnight UTC, but we'll be there from 7am WST.
LOCATION: WIRELESS HILL - Telefunken Drive (off McCallum Cres) - Applecross.

The idea is to get anyone who is interested, and as many local F-TROOP regulars are newbies to meet up as part of celebrating 500 episodes of F-TROOP.

So, for those in VK6 and those who will be flying in for the event and breaking quarantine - we'll be at the park at Wireless Hill.

Meet up, a light breakfast, getting ON-AIR and making some noise.

For those who know they are definitely coming, it would be good to get RSVPs to help me cater for breakfast, otherwise if you want to play it by ear - you're welcome to just turn up on the morning and join us.

Please RVSP by 12noon - Wednesday 20th January.

Please feel free to pass this invite on to others.

You can RSVP, to ME, by e-mail vk6paw@gmail.com, or phoning/SMS'ing +61 411 434 801.

Glynn VK6PAW

20210109 - WICEN event

posted Jan 8, 2021, 4:53 PM by Onno Benschop

Alan VK2MET shares with us a WICEN event for today, 09-Jan-2021:


WICEN NSW, a support squad of Volunteer Rescue Association, will be conducting an informal communications exercise on the weekend 9-10 January 2021 and invites amateur radio clubs across New South Wales and ACT to participate.

WICEN will establish a base station at Little Bay, Sydney, with WICEN members across NSW setting up home or field stations as part of a wider exercise.

Exercise net control operators at Little Bay will monitor the following frequencies, passing messages and accepting check-ins from WICEN members and other amateur radio operators:



Freq (kHz)





* +/- allowing for other traffic / QRM








* +/- allowing for other traffic / QRM






FM Repeater


VK2RWC ( +600kHz/91.5Hz)


FM Simplex




FM Simplex



Contacts from the wider amateur radio community, throughout the course of the exercise, will be greatly appreciated as this will help increase traffic and simulate more realistic workloads for our exercise net control operators.

Informal check-ins are requested to include:

Name, callsign, club name (if applicable), and location (Gridsquare, postcode, Lat/Lon or What3Words).

The exercise schedule is as follows:

  • Saturday, 9th January 2021: 12:00 - 22:00Hrs AEDT
  • Sunday, 10th January 2021: 08:00 - 12:00Hrs AEDT

These details and general information about WICEN NSW may be found at nsw.wicen.org.au



#vk2met #wicen #event

20210102 - New Online Presence

posted Jan 1, 2021, 5:49 PM by Onno Benschop   [ updated Jan 1, 2021, 5:50 PM ]

During the 'net today I raised the issue of the online presence of F-troop. This website. It's implemented as a "Classic Google Sites". Google has announced that the technology behind this site will be switched off at the end of 2021. Before then restrictions will be placed on  creation and editing of the content.

The current website can be converted to the 'New Google Sites", but one of the central features of this site, the announcements, like a blog, are not supported. This means that creating a post on the new Google sites will create extra work.

Another consideration is that the current site is only editable by a single person, me. I can add individuals, but there are limitations and doesn't really allow for any two-way communication.

While the domain name, vk6flab.com is paid for by me, the rest of the infrastructure is at no cost. This is attractive because F-troop doesn't generate any income. We could solicit donations, but that creates an administrative and accountability overhead that is unattractive. Incorporating F-troop as a "club" might alleviate some of that, but there are already plenty of radio clubs and creating a club entity for the purposes of this net is in my experience not viable.

A suggestion was to approach the WIA and use their infrastructure. There are some amateurs who do not want to be aligned with the WIA in any way and using their infrastructure would be contrary to those concerns.

We could migrate this to a mailing list. This is attractive because it allows anyone to send an email to it. We could moderate it, have it used as an announce-only list, have a web-archive, etc. We will likely quickly run into storage limits associated with any free service and paid mailing lists again require an income stream. Another issue is SPAM and filtering.

Another option is to host a mailing server on Amazon Web Services using SES as the underlying infrastructure, a paid-for option.

The traditional "blog" site, blogger, still exists. It's not seen much love from Google and it's unclear if it will continue to exist and for how long. There may be other blogging sites around that would be suitable.

We could use a free hosting service like WordPress, but the storage limits are going to become an issue sooner, rather than later.

I have also considered using GitHub pages, but storage limits quickly become an issue.

There are a few free wiki-based websites. They may be useful, but many seem to be struggling for funding in the same way that other free services are.

Facebook is an option, but it requires a Facebook account, which is not universal and their history of privacy breaches are not encouraging.

We could create a reddit sub specific to this 'net. This is attractive because the infrastructure to maintain discussion, moderation, etc. is already in place. It's free and it offers many attractive formatting options. One disadvantage is that information can and will be lost when contributors delete content, something which the current site avoids by uploading specific files as page attachments.

If you have thoughts on this or references to other options not considered, please drop me an email or raise it during F-troop.

I would like to mention that I don't want this to become a unilateral decision by me. So far F-troop has been a community effort and I'd like it to continue to be.

Look forward to hearing from you.

73, de Onno VK6FLAB

20210102 - Kununurra nodes by VK6RX

posted Jan 1, 2021, 5:06 PM by Onno Benschop   [ updated Jan 1, 2021, 5:07 PM ]

John VK6RX maintains the VK6-HUB Allstar node, he also maintains some other hardware.

The gateway is scanning:

And is running VARA, PACTOR (1,2,3,4) and ARDOP.

AllStarLink Node 42688:
  • Node Number: 42688
  • Freq: 439.150 Simplex
  • CTCSS: 77Hz
  • TX Tone: 77Hz
  • Power: 20W
  • Location: Kununurra, Western Australia
  • Coverage: Kununurra and limited surrounding area
  • Broadcasting the WIA News and VK6 NewsWest on Sunday and Wednesday at 0900 and 1800.
#vk6rx #winlink #pactor #allstar #repeater

20201219 - Santa Net

posted Dec 18, 2020, 4:32 PM by Onno Benschop   [ updated Dec 19, 2020, 5:24 PM ]

John VK3HJQ lets us know that you can talk to Santa:
  • The Alaska Santa Net on *HAM* Sunday @ 2200 UTC (Monday 9am AEDT) & via BM TG 235222
  • *DODROPIN* Santa Watch Net Thursday 2300 UTC (Friday Christmas Day 11am AEDT) & via BM TG 235222
#santa #net #vk3hjq

20201205 - PA0FBK portable 2-70 coax antenna

posted Dec 7, 2020, 1:17 AM by Onno Benschop   [ updated Dec 7, 2020, 1:18 AM ]

Mel VK6BMM sends us some details of an antenna installed inside a fishing rod. Mel reports that it works well with a low SWR. It's called the PA0FBK portable 2-70 coax antenna.

PA0FBK portable 2-70 coax antenna
#antenna #vk6bmm #pa0fbk

20201205 - International Space Station

posted Dec 4, 2020, 5:02 PM by Onno Benschop   [ updated Dec 4, 2020, 10:40 PM ]

For information about the International Space Station (ISS), radio schedules, repeaters, etc. check out this public group:
#iss #vk6zms

20201128 - SKYWARN

posted Nov 27, 2020, 5:03 PM by Onno Benschop   [ updated Dec 4, 2020, 3:58 PM ]

Don KC8CMQ sends us notice of a new event, SKYWARN. The event is on Saturday 5 December 2020.

Hello to all..

Apologies for those that have received this email multiple times. Its hard to believe but another SKYWARN Recognition Day is upon us. My sincerest apologies that this note is coming so late. With the changes in SRD due to the inability of volunteers being able to go into NWS offices due to COVID causing a revamp of this year's event with NWS along with several critical work projects, this first note has been delayed but I'm confident we can get the schedule pulled together for this year. The following is the first in the series of updates on SKYWARN Recognition Day (SRD) 2020 and Echolink/IRLP operations.

For 2020 SRD, understanding any NWS offices that are on the air will most likely be via NWS employees, we wanted to give everyone on this distribution first choice on the various time slots. You can operate with your personal call-sign as NWS coordinator or some may elect to use the NWS Call-Sign and state they are portable. WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio station at the National Hurricane Center, did that this year with their operations during hurricane activations.

EchoLink and IRLP are just a couple of modes people can utilize to contact NWS offices during SKYWARN Recognition Day. Many NWS offices will be on 2 Meters, 440 MHz, HF and other VHF/UHF bands. Additional details on SKYWARN Recognition Day including a registration link opened up to all Amateurs given the new SRD format can be found via the following link:


Also, there is a SRD Facebook group created. Those with Facebook can join it at the following link:


For 2020, the EchoLink *WX_TALK* Node: 7203/IRLP reflector 9219 system will be scheduling time for NWS offices or SKYWARN Coordinators with specific NWS office time slots to act as a net control to make contacts with spotters that are on the system. If a NWS office/SKYWARN Coordinator runs out of contacts and there are other NWS offices/SKYWARN Coordinators on the system, the NWS office acting as net control can turn it over to a different NWS office or SKYWARN Coordinator to act as a net control on the system at their discretion.

We'd like to ask NWS offices/SKYWARN Coordinators to do their best to adhere to the schedule. Sometimes this is difficult due to the number of contacts received by NWS offices/SKYWARN Coordinators. We ask for everyone's patience and work cooperatively to respect the time slot schedule.

Below is the 2019 SRD Schedule with the time slots from last year along with one confirmation for 2020. We would like to know if the remaining NWS offices or SKYWARN Coordinators with that office would like to keep their time slot or change time slots and then what call-sign should be listed on the schedule. See the list below:

Time in UTC NWS Office Call-Sign
0000-0100: N0NWS
0100-0200: WX1GYX
0200-0300: WX7SLC
0300-0400: WX9GRB
0400-0500: WX1BOX
0500-0600: WX9LOT
0600-0700: WX4HUN (Confirmed time slot from last year)
0700-0800: WX8APX
0800-0900: WX8APX
0900-1000: WX7SLC
1000-1100: WX4HUN
1100-1200: WX7SLC
1200-1300: W7NWS
1300-1400: Open
1400-1500: WX1AW
1500-1600: WX1BOX
1600-1700: WX4NC
1700-1800: Open
1800-1900: WX6LOX
1900-2000: K0MPX
2000-2100: Open
2100-2300: WX4NHC
2300-2400: WX6NWS

There will be other conference systems utilized for SKYWARN Recognition Day. They are as follows:

The New England Reflector Gateway System will be utilized by SKYWARN Coordinators from New England from 0000-0500 UTC and 1200-2400 UTC. The New England Gateway system is on EchoLink Conference server *NEW-ENG3* Node: 9123, IRLP reflector 9123. If other SKYWARN Coordinators and NWS offices would like to join the system, they are welcome to do so and participants in SKYWARN Recognition Day can also use that system to make contact with various NWS offices. This is a great place to move off the *WX_TALK* Node: 7203/IRLP 9219 system after your scheduled time if other Amateurs or NWS offices wish to make contact with you.

Also, the Western Reflector will be having NWS offices calling CQ as in past years and have multiple reflector channels and Echolink conferences available. There is reflector 9250/Echolink Conference *HI-GATE* node: 357564, IRLP 9251 and the *WORLD* Echolink Conference node: 479886, IRLP 9257/*DCF-ARC* Echolink Conference node: 336037 and IRLP 9258/EchoLink Conference *NV-GATE* Node: 152566 open for NWS offices. Please contact Kent-W7AOR for additional information on the Western Reflector.

A few technical reminders for folks interested in making contacts with the NWS Forecast Offices on the *WX-TALK* Node: 7203/IRLP 9219 and New England Reflector Gateway IRLP 9123/*NEW-ENG3* Echolink Node: 9123 systems:

-The system allows both EchoLink and IRLP connections. For EchoLink users, you connect to the *WX-TALK* Node: 7203 conference system. For IRLP users, you would connect to IRLP reflector 9219. It is possible we will have DMR/D-STAR and other modes directly linked on the system. This will be updated in the next few days regarding that aspect.

-If you are using EchoLink, the RF node or PC that you’re using must have EchoLink conferencing disabled. If it is not disabled, the system will automatically kick the node or PC off of the system. The reason this occurs is to prevent unintentional interference from a conferencing station that may not know the node is connected somewhere else. This will keep traffic moving on the net and reduce interference considerably.

For more information on VoIP Technical Configuration Tips, please go to our web site at http://www.voipwx.net where we have a link to that information on the main menu of the web site. This announcement will also be on the web site.

We are looking forward to another fun SKYWARN Recognition Day on the *WX-TALK* Node: 7203/IRLP reflector 9219 system, New England Reflector Gateway system and Western Reflector system. Thanks to all for their support!

Director of Operations for the VoIP Hurricane Net
ARES SKYWARN Coordinator for NWS Boston/Norton Massachusetts
Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator

#contest #kc8cmq #skywarn

20201114 - WWFF: Pike County Pocosin Complex in Alabama (KFF-3701)

posted Nov 13, 2020, 6:00 PM by Onno Benschop

Charles NK8O shares with us his park activation during the week:

More parks for me. ATNO (A totally new one - for everyone) was on the list this week.

Pike County Pocosin Complex in Alabama. According to dictionary.com:
pocosin, [puh-KOH-suhn] n. Southeastern US: a swamp or marsh in an upland coastal region

Maybe closer to a bog in the Queen's English.

47 contacts, with EU coming in like gangbusters. My beloved KX2 is back in service.

Picture show pertinent views. Confession time: I left my linked dipole at my previous park, so I made a new one from what I had at hand, the box for a package of butter. Fortunately I did have some alligator clips in the car.

WWFF designation for Pike County Pocosin Complex is KFF-3701


#nk8o #wwff #KFF-3701

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