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2010 Magazines

Other years

Amateur Radio November 2010

Delivery expected from November 1

Editorial

End of VK100WIA operations

By the time this issue reaches you, the six-month tenure of the VK100WIA will have ended.

I am preparing these notes whilst the local club is operating with the callsign, with the cold, wet and windy weather slowly moderating. Station set up was done between rain squalls, with wind gusts above 70 km/hour which produced some challenges.

Sunday saw us ready for the local Guides to arrive for some JOTA operation from 10:00 am local time. But no Guides arrived, only the group leader. Unperturbed, the team was ready to go with general operations from 0000Z. After an initial busy period, the pace slowed early in the afternoon. Hopefully things will pick up later in the afternoon.

We will have a report on the overall statistics for the VK100WIA operations in a future issue. I hope that all who attempted to qualify for the Centenary Award were able to make the required contacts. From what I could see, some clubs were unable to maintain on-line logging for the full period of operations, so some may need await the processing of paper logs to confirm all contacts with the special callsign were logged.

Everyone could also work WIA members to gain points to qualify, after having worked two club operations with the special callsign. All contacts needed to be made by the end of October, but you have until the end of January to submit your claim for the award – good luck.

Publications Committee vacancies

The prime responsibility of the Publications Committee is the production of regular monthly issues of Amateur Radio; it also oversees the production of the annual Callbook. In the New Year, we may consider some additional projects. The committee has several amateurs undertaking a variety of task, from Technical Editors and proof readers, through to a Secretary and your Editor. Everyone is a volunteer, the reward is seeing the fruits of your work in print.

We have space for a small number of additional members to spread the workload. We can determine the task that is the best fit for your skills. Ideally, you will be located close to or in greater Melbourne, so that you can attend the regular monthly meetings.

I invite your expression of interest, in which you indicate how you may assist with our operations. Email your submission to me, via the address on page one of this issue.

Contributions to AR

We have received over 100 articles this year, not including some of the Centenary historical articles, club news and column contributions. Very few articles have been rejected, but space limitations mean that some authors may wait more than six months before seeing their contribution in print. Do not be disheartened – we will eventually publish everything.

How can you see your words in print sooner? One way is to send in your report of an activity shortly after an event. The October issue reflected such prompt submission – we had articles quickly reporting on the ILLW weekend, so we made those prompt reports into a feature in that issue. Further ILLW 2010 reports will be saved to promote next year’s event.

Another method to speed publication is to include high quality, well composed images with your article. I am always looking for good high resolution images for the cover, but an image must relate to a topical event or an accompanying story, either general or technical.

The details of how you can contribute to this magazine are published on the WIA website. Look under Members Area, AR Magazine. Once on the AR page, look for the link “Contributing material”. There is probably some scope for us to update some details, but the basic facts are still the same: text should be submitted as a Word document or rtf file, and images in an appropriate electronic format, with photographs in as high a resolution as possible.

Do not forget the Spring VHF/UHF Field Day coming up in late November. Of course, there is also a contest somewhere in the world almost every weekend. If you are chasing DX, get on air and keep a watch on the propagation indicators – good hunting.

Cheers,

Peter VK3PF.

Cover photo

Heath VK3TWO/VK6TWO operating the VK100WIA Super Springtime public display within the Scout area at Perth Royal Show.
Full story on Page 48.

WIA President's Comment

Permitted Power Levels

The WIA Board has considered the many representations that have been made about the permitted power levels for amateur transmitters, and has decided to again raise the issue, in the context of applications to vary the conditions of a licence. I set out, slightly edited, the substance of my letter to the Australian Communications and Media Authority on the issue.

"The issue of the permitted power levels for amateur transmitters has been raised many times with the WIA by many members, and has been the subject of previous correspondence.

This letter again addresses this issue.
The (then) ACA's Outcomes of the Review of Amateur Service Regulation, May 2004, (the Outcomes), Appendix A, specified Permitted Power as 10 W PEP all permitted modes for Foundation licensees, 100 W PEP for all permitted modes for Standard licensees and 400 W PEP all modes for Advanced licensees. By a letter of May 2005 advising that the introduction of the Outcomes would be delayed, Mr. Alan Jordan also advised:

"I also advise that the proposal to specify transmitter output power only in terms of Peak Envelope Power (pX) will now not go ahead. This change is due to concerns about the potential for increased human exposure to electromagnetic radiation and increased interference resulting from what would be an effective increase in transmitter power output for some emission modes".

The WIA responded to that letter by a letter dated 12 January 2006, seeking a reconsideration of the ACMA position. The position of the Authority in refusing the WIA’s request was set out in a letter from Mr. Jordan to the WIA dated 2 May 2006. The Authority has adopted a policy to allow higher power for earth-moon-earth experiments above 50 MHz for Advanced licensees. That policy is set out on the ACMA website.

The WIA does not suggest any change to that policy in respect of earth-moon-earth experiments. However, many amateurs have continued to express concern in respect of the ACMA policy in relation to amateur power limits outside that policy. The WIA believes that these concerns are justified, and now proposes a solution that meets the concerns of the ACMA. We believe that the reasons for change are valid.

One matter that is raised by many is the power limits permitted by other administrations, particularly the United Kingdom and New Zealand. The Table below gives a summary of power limits permitted in a number of countries. While the Table covers only 13 countries it does provide a broad indication of the positions taken by countries with significant amateur radio activity. The Table covers the general position at HF and 2 meters with number of countries having special conditions, such as for VLF and 6 meters.

  Belgium 1000 watts
  Canada 2250 watts PEP or 750 watts carrier
  France 750 watts PEP all modes on HF 120 watts PEP all modes on 2 meters
  Germany 750 watts PEP all modes
  Holland 400 watts PEP all modes
  Japan 1000 watts HF, 50 watts 2 meters
  Oman 150 watts
  New Zealand 500 watts PEP all modes
  South Africa 400 watts PEP all modes
  Spain HF 800 watts PEP , 200 watts carrier 2 meters, 200 watts PEP, 50 watts carrier
  UK 400 watts PEP all modes
  USA 1500 watts PEP all modes
  Former Yugoslavian Countries 2000 watts

There are variations as to whether the power is measured "at the transmitter" or "at the antenna". The UK has adopted the "at the antenna" measurement and NZ "at the transmitter". Higher power limits are sought for a number of reasons. One is to overcome the increasing global electro-magnetic noise pollution on all HF bands from consumer and commercial devices.

A factor influencing many is that the lower power limits imposed by Australia detrimentally affect their ability to provide emergency HF communications with countries in the region suffering natural disasters and to participate in radio sports. There are an increasing number of contests throughout the year, and Australian amateurs wishing to participate must do so at a disadvantage to those competing from other countries. Recognising the previously expressed concerns of the ACMA the WIA proposes that the ACMA adopt a policy that allows Advanced licensees to apply for a variation of their licence to permit higher power from a fixed location. This would enable assessment on a case by case basis, and allow better management of interference issues.

The WIA suggests that the following should form the basis of such a policy:

  As in the case of applications for higher power for EME experiments, the applicant must satisfy the ACMA that the proposed signal levels from the station comply with the radiofrequency emission limits stipulated in the ARPANSA standard Radiation Protection Standard for Maximum Exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields - 3 kHz to 300 GHz.

  Higher power should be available on all HF bands where the amateur service is primary (and the band 7100 to 7200 kHz).

  Power limits up to 1,000 watts PEP or 500 watts mean should be allowed.

  This policy should be applicable only to Advanced licensees.

May we ask that the ACMA clarify one matter?

It is noted that within the "Key Documents" for the Amateur Service, there is a lack of clarity in respect to how transmitter power should be measured and what the test parameters should be? As a starting point the WIA suggests that the methods contained in Sections 5.43, 5.44, 5.45, and 5.46 of the former Amateur Operator’s Handbook (Revised December 1978) may be a starting point. We ask that the ACMA specify the preferred methodology for measuring transmitter RF power for the following emissions, namely SSB, AM, pulse and digital emission modes (FSK, PSK, MFSK and MPSK) which could be classified under either peak power or mean power methods.

With those changes the WIA submits that the ACMA would be adopting a policy that provides a realistic response to the many requests for a review of the earlier decision, but addresses the concerns of interference and electromagnetic radiation exposure."

I hope you agree with what is expressed in the letter.

Table Of Contents

GENERAL

Variations to some WIA examination and callsign fees
Is good enough good enough when it is not perfect? Geoff Emery VK4ZPP
A truly wintery Winter Field Day June 2010 Phil Derbyshire VK2FIL
Winners all over
Alfred William Herbert Chandler VK3LC - SK Ron Cook VK3AFW
VK100WIA - From Cradle to Devonport David Cleland VK7DC
VK100WIA ‘Super Springtime’ in Perth (Cover story) Heath Walder VK3TWO/VK6TWO

TECHNICAL

A noise meter for Sun and Moon noise type measurements Charlie Kahwagi VK3NX
Comparing line currents in HF balanced feeders Ron Sanders VK2WB
Six metres for Standard class operators Stuart Birkin VK8NSB
An RF voltmeter for transceiver servicing Jim Tregellas VK5JST

Plus all the usual Club news and columns

VK100WIA ‘Super Springtime’ in Perth (Cover story)

Heath Walder VK3TWO/VK6TWO

Heath gives us a detailed report on the combined activities from the four WA clubs who operated VK100WIA for 12 days in late September, including from the Perth Royal Show.

There is also a report of the VK100WIA operations by the Cradle Coast ARC from the Maritime Museum in Devonport.

Read all about it and check out the colour photos, especially those on the Inside Back Cover.

A truly wintery Winter Field Day June 2010

Phil Derbyshire VK2FIL

A short article describing, somewhat briefly, the adventure a few amateurs had in setting up, then operating, in the Winter Field Day event from southern NSW.

A number of photos compliment the article, and give a very good overview of the campsite, and general operation.

And… everybody had some fun.

An RF voltmeter for transceiver servicing

Jim Tregellas VK5JST

The author is a well known Australian amateur very well versed in the design and construction of various electronic measurement instruments.

He required a high quality RF voltmeter to allow him to work on a relatively modern amateur transceiver and, unable to source a piece of equipment to his liking, designed and built his own.

The article details how he went about the chore, with relatively detailed explanations of why he made the design decisions he did – to all builders, in particular, a most interesting article, and a challenging homebrew task.

Comparing line currents in HF balanced feeders

Ron Sanders VK2WB

This article adds a HF balanced line feeder current measurement tuner to the balanced HF ATU article published in Amateur Radio July 2008, although it is also a standalone project for anyone using an ATU in their HF operating set-up.

It is a simple circuit, but well explained, and provides a very useful measurement instrument in an area often overlooked by most amateurs, the balanced feedline.

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