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2011 Magazines

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Amateur Radio November 2011

Delivery expected from October 28


Publications Committee activities

The Publications Committee is made up of a team of volunteers, all committing part of their hobby time to work towards the preparation of this publication – Amateur Radio. I doubt that I could do my job as Editor without the contributions of the formal and informal members of the committee. We have several formal members of the Publications Committee, all of whom are listed in the left hand column on page one of each issue. We also have a couple of other informal members who contribute by being part of the proof reading team for each issue of this magazine. In addition to these members, we value the input from a number of others involved in the WIA, and of course we cannot ignore the efforts of Fontana Design in the preparation of each issue.

Whilst Amateur Radio is the regular monthly evidence of our combined efforts, and logically the task which consumes most of our time and effort, we also have other tasks to consider.

As I prepare these notes, the 2012 Callbook is at the printer. The Callbook is edited by Greg VK3VT, with many contributing to ensure that the most up to date information possible is included. As I mentioned in last month’s Editorial, there must always be a cut-off date for all information. Therefore, a printed volume such as the Callbook will always be out of date before it can be distributed! But we do as best we can. I thank Greg for his efforts and also all who responded to Greg’s requests for updated information. As a team, we also thank Communique Graphics for their efforts in collating and layout of the Callbook.

By now, the Callbook should be available for purchase. Details can be found elsewhere in this issue, or at the Bookshop on the WIA website. Clubs are reminded that they can order in bulk at a discounted price. I am sure that the Callbook will also be available for purchase at upcoming major hamfest events.

The Publications Committee also considers other projects from time to time. We may have something new to announce in the New Year…… watch this space.

Summer is coming

As many readers will be aware, my primary area of interest in amateur radio is the VHF, UHF and microwave regions, especially in the weak signal segments of the bands.

I hope to have a mast or two approved and erected before the forthcoming summer season arrives, with appropriate antennas mounted. If I achieve that goal, I will be able to engage more effectively in the activities that provide me with both stimulation and satisfaction.

In addition to getting a mast and antennas organised, I also need to check out the microwave transverters and associated equipment in readiness for summer, when we can hopefully experience periods of enhanced propagation.

But even if you are not well set up at home, you can still be involved in such activities if you have transceivers which will operate in the narrowband segments of the higher bands. Consider getting out onto a local high spot with horizontally polarised antennas, especially during the VHF/UHF Field Day events or during the Ross Hull Contest. You might be surprised at what you can work!

Hopefully we will continue to see further improvements in HF propagation as we move out of the cycle minimum.

A pirate?

In the past couple of weeks I have received reports that my callsign has been appearing on the 40 m band, with the “operator” being someone other than me.

Whilst I do not appear often on the HF bands, I do pop up occasionally. So I may well be on the HF bands. But the “pirate” reported to me is not using my name.

Anyone hearing the callsign VK3PF on air being operated by someone with a name other than Peter located at Churchill (or some portable location) is asked to log as much detail as possible about the station and operator, including location, time, date and frequency. Please then forward the information to me so that it can be collated and forwarded to the ACMA for further investigation.

November celebrations

You may wish to note that Amateur Radio Victoria (ARV) will be celebrating its Centenary during November this year. They are offering a Centenary Award certificate and also promoting the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award during the celebrations. Further details can be found in the ARV notes and on their website.

That is all for now.


Peter VK3PF

This month’s cover

The youngest girl in the Chinese team, Ye Qiaojian, listens intently to her 80 m receiver during the warm up period of the Model Event at the start of the IARU Region 3 ARDF Championships held near Maldon in late September. Ye Qiaojian is much loved by the rest of her team, who call her “little lovely”. You can find an overview of the Championships commencing on page 22.

WIA President's Comment

The 8th IARU Region 3 ARDF Championships

Let me start by quoting a rule:
C2.4 FIVE hidden transmitters shall operate on each band (i.e. 3.5 and 144 MHz) in the following sequence:
• In the first minute: transmitter no. 1 radiating the characters MOE.
• In the second minute: transmitter no. 2, radiating the characters MOI.
• In the third minute: transmitter no. 3, radiating the characters MOS.
• In the fourth minute: transmitter no. 4, radiating the characters MOH.
• In the fifth minute: transmitter no. 5, radiating the characters MO5.
This sequence shall repeat after the fifth minute with transmitter no. 1 operating in the sixth minute, etc.

A sixth transmitter, acting as a beacon, shall be placed at the entrance to the “finishing corridor” (see D2.10). This transmitter shall transmit the characters MO continuously.

That is one Rule taken from the twelve pages of the “Rules for IARU Region 3 Championships in Amateur Radio Direction Finding”.

One of the features of amateur radio is that it covers such a wide range of diverse interests. Radio sport is one of those interests.
I wrote about the IARU in the September 2011 issue of Amateur Radio. The IARU Region 3 ARDF Championships is one of the few activities of IARU Region 3 that is not confined to its policy/advocacy roles but engages in ordinary amateur activities.

Yet how many of us in this country really know very much about ARDF as it is conducted as an international sport?

As I say, there are 12 pages of detailed rules, and changes to those rules, even their interpretation, is a very hot topic for those involved, across the world and particularly in Region 1.

As you can see from this issue of Amateur Radio, the 8th IARU Region 3 ARDF Championships were conducted around Maldon, Victoria, from 23 September to 28 September 2011. The article by the WIA ARDF Coordinator, Jack Bramham VK3WWW tells a little about the event, as do the photographs.

Perhaps the scope of the event is best summed up by Jack, where he has written:
Participants for this event were made up of Australia (WIA) 19, China (CRSA) 34, Japan (JARL) 31, Kazakhstan (KFRR) 1, Korea (KARL) 6, Malaysia (MARTS) 2 and USA (ARRL) 3, totalling 96 competitors. Added to the competitors list there were team officials, trainers and International Referees. So, as you can see it is really a major event for us here in VK.

The WIA was the host Society and provided administrative support.

The planning and organising, the real work, was undertaken by a group from the Victorian ARDF Group, led by Jack.

Jack also refers to the many volunteers needed to conduct the actual event.

The preparations started 18 months ago, and I realise now the extent of those preparations necessary to conduct such an event properly. These preparations extended to contacting landowners, government agencies as well as local authorities, quite apart from the obvious things of finding a venue, determining a course, finding suitable and not too expensive accommodation, organising registrations processes and organising transport for quite a number of people and arranging a day for the overseas visitors to see something of that part of our country.

Finding a course is governed by the detailed rules which define the terrain for the competition as follows:
C2.1 The area and terrain over which the competition takes place shall be predominantly wooded. Differences in level over the terrain shall not exceed 200 meters. The Organising Society shall exercise prudence in the choice of terrain taking into account any hazards that might be harmful to the health of competitors. An area used in the past 12 months for any ARDF event should not be used.

The choice of location, Maldon, with the right terrain and very much a centre in the attractive and historically interesting Gold Fields part of Victoria, would be hard to better.

Amateur radio has many aspects. Each of us tends to see it in the prism of our own particular area of interest. ARDF, particularly international ARDF is an aspect that many of us in Australia really know very little about.

As someone who has discovered that ARDF can be a bit more than the 80 metre transmitter hunts that I once enjoyed, I learnt a number of things from the IARU Region 3 ARDF Championships.

One was to understand the mixture of technical and physical skills required, the real orienteering skills needed.

Another was the genuine international friendships that were fostered, and importantly, how this activity attracted younger people. The Chinese team included a group of students who carried their school flag at the closing dinner.

I was privileged to be at both the opening and closing of this great event.

For me it was great to see so many young people, great to catch up with old friends such as the Chair of the Region 3 ARDF Committee Yoshio Arisaka JA1HQG, and above all, to see the friendly camaraderie of so many people from different lands brought together by this aspect of amateur radio.

I commend Jack, his team and the many people from both amateur radio and orienteering who made the event the success it undoubtedly was.

To all involved, from organisers to helpers to competitors, I extend my sincere congratulations on a truly memorable and friendly occasion.

I am proud, too, that we, the Wireless Institute of Australia, were able to contribute to the success of this international event.

Table Of Contents


Official opening of the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society Inc (AHARS) training and operations ‘shack’ John Elliott VK5EMI
Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society overcomes some advanced technology Rob Gurr VK5RG
ARDF championships a success - Report on the 8th IARU Region 3 ARDF Championships Jack Bramham VK3WWW
D-STAR QSO Party in 2011
Bits and Bobs: How amateur radio enhances a marriage Rananda Rich VK2FRAR
A history of the Amateur Operators Certificate and the Morse code requirement Lloyd Butler VK5BR


A switched mode power supply repair Erich Heinzle VK5HSE
A sensitive field strength meter Tony La Macchia VK2BTL
A simple beeper for microwave operation Lou Blasco VK3ALB
An audio compressor/AGC circuit Dale Hughes VK1DSH
Simple balanced line protector Justin Giles-Clark VK7TW
The Porta-Loop: A loop antenna for MF reception Peter Parker VK3YE
PSK31 QRP is great fun Grant McDuling VK4JAZ
An unforgettable lesson Alan Elliott VK3AL

Plus all the usual Club news and columns

ARDF championships a success - Report on the 8th IARU Region 3 ARDF Championships

Jack Bramham VK3WWW

The 8th IARU Region 3 ARDF Championships were held recently in the historic township of Maldon in central Victoria, and featured almost a hundred competitors from Australia and overseas.

The event was organised by the WIA through its ARDF coordinator, although there were significant contributions from Orienteering Victoria, and a number of non-amateurs.

The championships went off very smoothly and, as a VK bonus, a number of VK competitors featured in the medal winning presentation.

Bits and Bobs: How amateur radio enhances a marriage

Rananda Rich VK2FRAR

A different slant on amateur radio, adding, from the author’s perspective another benefit of this wonderful hobby we all share.

And, as the article will explain, this ultimately led the author to study for her own Foundation licence.
Very well written.

An audio compressor/AGC circuit

Dale Hughes VK1DSH

The author can describe the crux of this article well better than I, thus I quote “The need for this circuit came about while using a phasing type transceiver that I had built. The transceiver did not have any sort of Automatic Gain Control and this detracted from the otherwise fine performance of the unit. If a strong nearby stations came on air when I was working weak station at adequate volume, I would be scrambling for the volume control! That problem has now been solved”.

A short article explaining the development and build of this, successful, project.

A sensitive field strength meter

Tony La Macchia VK2BTL

The author often experiments with antennas in the field, and required a sensitive field strength meter to measure the success, or otherwise, of his efforts.

Given that top of the line equipment can be frightfully expensive, he decided to construct a piece of equipment that suited his needs – the article tells how he did it, and explains why he made certain decisions along the way.

Another one for our keen constructors.

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Page Last Updated: Wednesday 26 October 2011 at 16:47 hours


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