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2011 Magazines

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Amateur Radio December 2011

Delivery expected from November 25

Editorial

Another year almost gone

Here we are with the December issue – where has the last year gone?

The Publications Committee has been busy all year. We had the Callbook out more or less on target, but we are reviewing the entire production process in an attempt to see if we can identify sticking points. We anticipate having that review completed this year so that we have a refined production schedule for the next edition.

More significantly, we are overall very satisfied with the results across the year with respect to AR. We moved the production process to a new publication house this year – Fontana Design. The principal of Fontana Design is Sergio VK3SFG, who introduced a new layout style and has worked hard with the Publications Committee throughout the year. We have observed occasional minor hiccups with the printing process used, but generally have been happy with the magazine overall. As always, the Publications Committee will review our production options over the next few weeks to see if we can achieve even better results in the future within our allocated budget.

Amateur radio features in technical press

An interesting overview of modern amateur radio appeared in a recent issue of the technical trade journal EDN magazine. The article “Ham radio in the 21st century” was written by Doug Grant K1DG. The author begins by pointing out that Marconi can be considered to be an amateur. He then moves on from the beginnings of our hobby through to the current state of the art. It makes for an interesting read, even if the focus is on activities in the US. You can read the article online at www.edn.com – search for “ham radio” and it should come up in the search results, along with some other interesting reading.

In this issue

We have two articles this month that are a result of the Centenary celebrations last year: A review of the Centenary activities by WIA Historian Peter Wolfenden VK3RV, and a paper based on one of the presentations made at the Symposium held in association with the AGM – Justin Giles-Clark VK7TW gave a very interesting overview of modern communications technologies and techniques, and we are pleased to publish his written report in this issue.

Season’s greetings
On behalf of the Publications Committee, I extend season’s greetings to all. Thank you to all our contributors over the past year. Without the regular columns and club news contributions, and the many articles submitted, we would not have a magazine that seems to have broad support across its readers.

We look forward to providing the magazine again in the New Year. Remember that the January and February volumes are published as a single combined issue, due to be available in late January 2012.

I do have a little bad news for those who buy the magazine from the newsstands: it has been decided that the cover price will increase to $8.00 per issue, commencing with the January/February 2012 issue. This once again means that it will be cheaper to be a member of the WIA than to buy every issue of AR. Not to mention that you will receive other membership benefits and contribute to the work of the WIA in supporting your operating privileges.

Cheers,

Peter VK3PF

This month’s cover

In this issue, Justin Giles-Clark VK7TW presents an overview of modern communications technologies and techniques, based on his presentation at the Centenary Conference in May 2010. The main images are a photo of Justin’s High Performance Software Defined radio (HPSDR) transceiver and a screen shot of the PowerSDR software. Images by Justin Giles-Clark VK7TW. The inset photo shows the predicted radiation pattern of the four element Yagi for 6 m designed by Paul McMahon VK3DIP.

WIA President's Comment

Has the Club Grant Scheme run its course?

Meeting at the home of the late Chris Jones in Menai, near Sydney, on 8 and 9 April 2005 the WIA Board decided in principal to establish a Club Grant Scheme, initially allocating $1,500 for the 2006 year, but soon increasing the amount to $5,000.

In a carefully considered approach it was decided to support useful and or innovative projects to be undertaken by affiliated clubs. Later, the Rules initially adopted were amended to allow different categories of projects that were useful and or innovative to be specifically identified by the Board.

The Rules required the Board to appoint a Grant Committee of three to recommend grants to the Board. The Rules say that “The Board shall give preference to appointing members who come from different geographic areas and who by reason of their occupation or experience are likely to be generally respected by the amateur community and have experience relevant to their obligations under these Rules …”

The task of the Grant Committee is not easy, with their Report to the Board to include:
(i) A brief summary of each of the Applications it has considered;
(ii) A detailed description of each Proposal (if any) it recommends be supported, setting out its reasons;
(iii) The amount of Grant it recommends be made for each Proposal it recommends be supported (in total not to exceed the Grant Amount).
(iv) Any other fact or matter that the Grant Committee considers should be brought to the attention of the Board.

This approach provides guidance for the clubs considering making applications for a grant and ensures an open and transparent process.

All the Grant Committee Reports to the Board, other than the very first report, are on the WIA website, together with the current Rules.

In the first year, 2006, the Grant Committee, Ken Fuller, Deane Blackman and Wally Howse, reported that some 18 applications for grants had been received and made recommendations for grants and suggestions for the future of the Scheme to the Board.

Since then the Board has identified specific categories of projects that it will support and the maximum amount of grants for a year has increased to $6,000.

In the five years from 2006 to 2010 the Grants Committee has recommended some 36 separate projects be supported by grants totalling $27,180.

Obviously, while the WIA wishes to support useful and or innovative projects by clubs, it also has regard to the number of WIA members in a club.

It does not make a lot of sense to support clubs that do not support the WIA. The Rules provide that, except in the case of a project having particular merit, at least 50% of the members of the club who are amateurs must also be members of the WIA to receive a grant, and the Grant Committee is encouraged to have regard to the number of WIA members in a club when considering recommending a grant.

This year the Board decided that the WIA would support projects falling into two categories, namely projects and activities to be conducted before 1 June 2012 to attract new amateurs, but focussed on people under 25; and amateur radio projects that are useful and innovative and that utilise both information technologies and radio communications.

The 2011 Scheme was advertised in the June issue of Amateur Radio, with applications to close on 25 July.

To our surprise, only three applications were received.

One club, for reasons that seemed to me to be quite valid, sought an extension of time to lodge an application that it had planned to lodge.

Given the few applications received, it seemed reasonable to accede to that request, but if we were to accede to that request, it seemed unfair not to allow an extended period for all clubs, and so if we were to accede to that request it also seemed reasonable to allow further time for all clubs, and so the time limit was extended to 9 August.

With hindsight, that may have been a mistake and may have encouraged some projects to be put together in too much haste.

On the other hand, only three applications certainly does imply that there is now little interest in the Scheme.

I think that a number of comments can be made about some of the applications in the last year or so, and in particular some proposed projects really represent ordinary and routine expenditure and some projects are proposed that are very remote from the categories of project that have been identified.

In fact, and particularly disappointing, no project was proposed this year that addressed the category we had defined of amateur radio projects that are useful and innovative and that utilise both information technologies and radio communications.

Has the Club Grant Scheme run its course?

Is there now little interest by clubs in projects of the kind that could attract grants?

Or, was it just a combination of unrelated factors that resulted in a coincidence of so few applications this year? Or, is the way we are conducting the Scheme a problem? Can we change the process, the timing, or something else to make it more attractive to clubs?

The Board will not make a decision about continuing the Scheme until it meets at Mildura after the Open Forum at the 2012 WIA Annual Conference.

We invite all clubs to make written submissions on the matters I have raised, and to send them to us. In order to ensure balance, we encourage positive as well as negative reactions to the Scheme as it is now.

We will circulate all submissions we receive with the Open Forum reports that we will send to everyone who has registered for the Annual Conference so all views can be taken into account when it is discussed at the Open Forum.

Then, the Board will be in a position to decide the matter.

Table Of Contents

GENERAL

NZ Amateur of the year 2010, and now VK2DWS David W Searle VK2DWS
Science Alive Paul Schulz VK5FPAW
The 2011 VK9HR DXpedition to Lord Howe Island John Chalkiarakis VK3YP
Hunter Radio Group catches up with Jeff Johnson VK4XJJ in Newcastle Grahame O’Brien VK2FA
Darcy Hancock VK5RJ Ian Sutcliffe VK5IS
It all started 100 years ago The Centenary Celebrations Committee
Western Vic JOTA/JOTI 2011 Ash Clark VK3SSB
Gridsquare Standings at 17 October 2011

TECHNICAL

Foundation Corner 17: Basic digital communication or The Diddly Dah’s Ross Pittard VK3CE
Can’t you hear me calling? Bill Isdale VK4IS
Modern communications technologies – A quick Centenary review and the future! Justin Giles-Clark VK7TW
A four element six metre Yagi for 50 to 52.5 MHz Paul McMahon VK3DIP

Plus all the usual Club news and columns

It all started 100 years ago

The Centenary Celebrations Committee

This is a brief overview of the organisation and implementation of the WIA 100th anniversary celebrations that ran through much of 2010, and a view of some of the benefits accruing as a result of that most successful year.

An interesting read – and an activity for which the committee, and all those individuals that assisted wherever possible, deserves much credit.

Science Alive

Paul Schulz VK5FPAW

The Elizabeth Amateur Radio Club (EARC) ran a booth, in partnership with another Adelaide group, ‘Hackerspace’, who describe their activity as ‘dabbling in electronics’, at Science Alive, the premier science education event in South Australia.

Each group complemented the other in attracting attention to the booth, and by all accounts they succeeded in providing a well presented resume of the hobby of amateur radio to a wonderful event crowd, estimated at around 24,000 over the three days – and are to be warmly congratulated in their endeavours to do so.

Modern communications technologies – A quick Centenary review and the future!

Justin Giles-Clark VK7TW

This article formed the genesis of the presentation given by the author at the WIA AGM in Canberra in May, 2010.

It has a look at some of the more modernistic communications available to the amateur, and looks briefly into the future in postulating where the hobby may be heading as the 21st century moves on.

It is interesting as much for its lack of discussion or reflection on, say, AM, SSB or CW, or traditional ‘hardware’ homebrewing, as it focuses on what is ‘new’ and where that ‘newness’ may lead the hobby.

Reflective!

A four element six metre Yagi for 50 to 52.5 MHz

Paul McMahon VK3DIP

The author of this article is, among other traits, very particular with details and facts, and goes to some length to support his writings with well documented test results.

This is evident in this, his latest contribution to Amateur Radio, the design and construction of a four element six metre Yagi.

The article is long, and very detailed – but anyone who may want to build the unit will be able to do so, with some considerable ease, simply by following the author’s explicit instructions.

An article for any six metre aficionado wanting to construct a six metre Yagi that works.

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Page Last Updated: Thursday 17 November 2011 at 10:46 hours

 

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