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Amateur Radio August 2007


A word about photographs

Amateur Radio receives many excellent articles for publication. Unfortunately very few of the accompanying photographs approach the description of excellent; the great majority are unpublishable or nearly so.

This is a great pity. An otherwise excellent article is reduced in ‘reader entertainment’ because photographs that could complement the text, and add to reader interest, are unprintable, or of such poor quality that their value to the article is, negative.

So, in an effort to explain what makes a ‘good’ photograph, from a publishing point of view, here are a few, very simple, requirements.

 The photo can be either black and white or colour. These days, with modern processing software, colour is generally preferred.
 The photo must be in focus. Seems a somewhat obvious, thing to say, but to an amateur photographer, this is quite a difficult feat to accomplish.
 The photo must have excellent contrast, with no obvious flaws, i.e., no obvious fading, or glare, and good colour contrast between individual components of the scene.
 Think about the composition of the shot before you press the shutter release button. Are the key features arranged appropriately (or viewed from the best angle) so that the overall photo looks “pleasing to the eye”.

Watch for some common pitfalls:

 Beware of foregrounds - sharp focus may be on a wine glass, or the back of someone's head, when the desired subject is blurry. Using flash when shooting groups at tables often causes tablecloths and faces in foreground to flare while wanted detail furthest from camera is in darkness.
 Beware of backgrounds. Flash against a light coloured wall creates an unattractive dark shadow. When used against a dark empty background, subjects may lose their definition. Beware of ‘busy’ background patterns that steal focus – e.g. curtains, paisley wallpaper, or in the case of antenna shots, dappled trees or bright sky.
 Photos are better if there is plenty of other light around. The flash should not be the only source of strong light.
 White shirts flare – take care.
 Action photos are more interesting than grip 'n' grin photos. Beware of the "Bumfest". People's faces are more interesting than their backs.
 Technical photos: Don't use flash. The best light is obtained outdoors at noon on a cloudy bright summer day! Replicate this as closely as possible. Use a flat light blue background.

If you can achieve these attributes, you will have a good, publishable photo – and your article will benefit enormously.

Seems simple! Well, it is obviously not – a good, professional tip is to take as many photos as you can, in as high a resolution as you can; in that way a few will indeed be of excellent standard. These are the ones we want for publication.

Many photographers now use digital cameras instead of film. DO NOT print the photos and send us the hard copy – send us the electronic photo file in as high a resolution as possible.

Most email systems will cope with a total email size of around 10 MB, so individual images can be up to around 5 or 6 MB. If in doubt, download the high resolution image to your PC, use your image software to save a copy of the file in a smaller size and send that to us.

Images around 500 kB to 1 MB for a postcard size image are adequate for use inside the magazine. Images less than 100 kB are almost useless for reproduction. We print at 300 dpi and such images print very small.

If we want an image for the cover or inside back cover, we can contact you requesting a higher resolution (larger file size) version of the image.

Of course, you can always burn all the high resolution images to CD and post them in to us.

So, take your time, take more shots than you need, and send the excellent ones in with your article. Our readers will be happy. And, as the author, so will be you.


Peter VK3KAI, on behalf of the entire production team


Table Of Contents

Page 6 - Where has amateur radio headed now? Jim McNabb VK3AMN
Page 7 - Operating a QRP station in a quiet age Grant McDuling VK4JAZ
Page 17 - International Lighthouse Weekend Glenn Alford VK3CAM
Page 26 - GippsTech the 10th Roger Harrison VK2ZRH

Page 5 - A home brewed rotator Warren Fritz VK4FJ
Page 10 - The 'Spectrum Snooper' Dale Hughes VKIDSH
Page 18 - Not fast food - an AR introduction to "microwaves Peter Freeman VK3KAl.
Page 21 - Icom IC-756 Pro III HF - 6 m all-mode transceiver (Equipment Review) Bill Roper VK3BR and Ron Fisher VK3OM

GippsTech the 10th

Author: Roger Harrison VK2ZRH

Noted for his many technical contributions to radio and electronics over many years, Roger Harrison VK2ZRH reports on his first visit to the annual GippsTech technical conference, held in early July each year. The event is organised by the Eastern Zone Amateur Radio Club (Inc).

Roger reports:
"Australia's 'stand out' amateur radio event reached a significant milestone this year and deserves to set more in the future."

The article is available below for download.

Operating a QRP station in a quiet age

Author: Grant McDuling VK4JAZ

Grant McDuling reports on the joys of constructing and operating QRP equipment, even when the sunspot numbers are low.

A home brewed rotator

Author: Warren Fritz VK4FJ

Warren Fritz tells us how he solved his problem of having the rotate the antenna mast via the "arm-strong" method and created a home-brew rotator.

The article is available below for download.

The 'Spectrum Snooper'

Author: Dale Hughes VKIDSH

A basic spectrum analyser is presented for readers to construct. It uses readily available components and offers reasonable performance and flexible operation for the radio experimenter. Source code and printed circuit board layouts are available for those who would like to experiment with this type of instrument.

The instrument allows a 250 kHz slice of spectrum in the 0.1 to 30 MHz region to be visualised.

Advertisers Index

  Australian Enterprise Industrial (One Man Tower)
  Andrews Communications Systems
  ATN Antennas
  G & C Communications
  Hamak Electrical Industries (RM Products Italy)
  Jackson Brothers (Components)
  Jenlex - filters
  KVK Antennas
  Newtek Electronics (Amidon Ferromagnetic Cores)
  TET-Emtron antennas
  TTS Systems Communications Equipment
  Vertex Standard - Yaesu


Files For Download

GippsTech the 10th – full article
AR Aug 2007 - GippsTech10.pdf

A home brewed rotator – full article
AR Aug 2007 - HB rotator.pdf

Page Last Updated: Sunday 3 February 2008 at 12:10 hours


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