Amateur Radio September 2011
Delivery expected from August 26
As I mentioned last month, Pierce Healy VK2APQ reached his 100th birthday on the middle of August – I understand that the big day is on the weekend that the proof reading team will be checking out this issue of AR. Wally Green VK6WG also reached the milestone this month, with a report of his radio activities appearing last month. This month we have a report from Peter Wolfenden VK3RV about Pierce and his past activities. ARNSW is also planning a celebration at the Dural property in early September, so check out the ARNSW website or listen to their broadcast for details.
Amateur Radio Victoria is gearing up for its own centenary celebrations in November. Jim VK3PC gives us an overview in this month’s ARV news, with opportunities to work VK3WI to earn points towards the Amateur Radio Victoria Centenary Award during the RD and ILLW weekends (this news will probably be too late for most readers I suspect, but I am sure ARV will have been promoting the award via the WIA News broadcasts).
Articles for AR
As I have indicated in the past, last year produced a flood of contributions for publication in AR covering various aspects relating to the history of our hobby in Australia. Some of these contributions are still being worked on by Publications Committee (PubCom) or others who have been drafted to assist. The plan is that most will eventually be published and all material will be added to the WIA Archive for use by future historians.
This flood has caused some headaches, as many other articles are still awaiting publication, delayed by the need to publish many of the historical articles during the centenary year. We are now slowly catching up on some of the backlog, with three excellent simple construction articles finally published in this issue, having been submitted in August or September last year.
We currently have a maximum delay of twelve months for most articles, with only a few remaining in our stockpile of material ready for publication. I will be endeavouring to publish the few remaining very old articles in the next couple of issues and I thank the contributors for their patience and understanding.
I always have a challenge at the start of each month – what articles do I include in the coming issue? Some articles will need to be published almost immediately, especially general articles which contain time sensitive material.
At the last meeting of PubCom, we discussed the need for the technical editor team members to please process the articles that they have for review as quickly as possible. Of course, this raises another issue – the PubCom team members are all volunteers, doing the work to support your magazine in their spare time. Even so, as a team we will be working hard to move new contributions through the review and preparation steps as quickly as possible.
That will mean that I will have more articles from which to choose for each issue, with a buffer of around six to twelve months. How can the delay be reduced? One option would be to increase the size of the magazine each month from March to November, increasing it to the 64 pages used for the December and January/February issues. It is a simple but expensive solution. We have ruled out that option, as it would destroy our budget.
Another option would be to decrease the number of pages allocated to Club News items.
Such a step would make more pages available for general and technical articles, but at the expense of less news from around the country. Such news helps us all to understand what is happening in the various corners of this vast continent. We have not taken any decision and I would welcome the views of readers on this issue.
Some readers have asked for an electronic version of the magazine. PubCom has discussed this at length and has decided that we will produce an annual collation of material at the end of this year. This would be similar to the approach taken by the ARRL in some respects – they produce an annual CD containing all the issues of QST, QEX and NCJ. ARRL members can choose to only receive the electronic version of QST, but they must wait for a whole year to receive the “magazine” on CD at the end of the year. I suspect that we are unlikely to follow this approach. We are likely to offer the annual collation as an extra to the printed magazine, available for sale through the WIA Bookshop.
Remember that we always need good high quality photos that we can use on the cover and inside back cover of the magazine – keep the camera handy and send in your high resolution digital photos! Just make sure that you send in a story to go with the photo.
This month’s cover
The background for this month is the new 20 m beam added to the mast at the Northern Corridor Radio Group station in VK6 – see the VK6 News on page 16 for further details. In this issue we also have some relatively simple projects to build, with two of them featuring as the inset photographs on the cover:
On the left we have the heart of the tuning indicator for a 100 W HF transmitter, by Warren VK3XSW – the project starts on page 33.
On the right is the band pass filter unit described by Roderick VK3YC. This article starts on page 8.
WIA President's Comment
Station Inspections and “Possession"
In the April 2011 issue of Amateur Radio magazine I described the WIA’s concerns arising from some station inspections in relation to the question of the possession by amateurs of some transmitters and the manner in which some station inspections had been undertaken.
It had emerged that the ACMA field staff were taking the relevant legislation into account but also that the ACMA did not have formal policies or operational procedures addressing either issue. The WIA strongly urged the ACMA to develop appropriate policies and procedures to assist both amateurs and its own staff in the interpretation and application of the legislation.
The ACMA responded by indicating its willingness to do so and to work with the WIA.
As has been reported in the News items in this issue, the ACMA has undertaken a careful examination of both issues, and I have indicated that we are satisfied with the progress that has been made so far.
In particular, our major concerns about the manner in which station inspections are undertaken have been accepted, and we expect the process will be expressed in the ACMA’s internal documents in a way that will meet our concerns.
It has been a little more difficult to find an appropriate form of words to deal with the question of possession of radio equipment.
That issue arises because of sections 47 and 48 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992. As I said previously, section 47 provides that “... a person must not have a radiocommunications device in his or her possession for the purpose of operating the device otherwise than as authorised by: (a) a spectrum licence; or (b) an apparatus licence; or (c) a class licence.”
Section 48 is a series of rebuttable presumptions, that apply in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, that the transmitter is possessed “for the purpose of operation” (but not otherwise than as authorised by a licence).
We are very anxious to ensure that those provisions do not become a barrier to legitimate amateur activities.
However, one matter has emerged that has surprised me, and one which I would like to address here.
I should say that in making the observations I do, I rely on my discussions with a number of amateurs and ACMA staff.
Many commercial amateur transceivers (that is, equipment made specifically for the amateur market) are capable of being modified to transmit on frequencies outside the amateur bands, sometimes by no more than removing a single diode.
I should stress that my comments are confined to exactly that, equipment made specifically for the amateur service. Other equipment that complies with standards, for example for land mobile stations, may also be lawfully used on amateur frequencies.
I started to write this Comment on the basis that an amateur could never modify a commercial amateur transceiver so that it could “operate” (whatever that may mean) on a frequency outside the amateur bands. I do not think that simple solution provides the right answer.
What about using a low power transceiver as a VFO with output on a non amateur frequency for translation to an amateur frequency?
Provided adequate care is taken to ensure that such equipment cannot radiate sufficient energy during transmit periods that would interfere with other services – it would be simply providing a low level signal to be translated to a different amateur allocated/authorised frequency band.
That would seem to me to be legitimate.
On the other hand, I know that a number of amateurs believe that, as their commercial amateur transceiver is of a high technical standard, it can be operated on frequencies covered by Class Licences, such as the Maritime Ship Stations 27 MHz and VHF class licence and the Citizen Band Radio Station class licence.
I know a number of amateurs have in fact used their equipment on frequencies covered by those class licences.
The class licences have power restrictions and the like that may not have been taken into account.
But, much more significantly, the class licences have provision that provide, in effect, that a person must not operate a station under the class licence unless the station complies with each standard made under section 162 of the Act that applies to the station. Section 162 gives the ACMA the power to make “standards”.
The ACMA has made standards for most transmitters covered by a class licence, other than the class licence in relation to overseas amateurs visiting Australia.
Section 157 makes it an offence, in effect, to transmit from a “nonstandard transmitter” and section 158 makes it an offence to possess for the purpose of operation a device the person knows to be a non standard device, and section 159 is a series of rebuttable presumptions as to the possession being for the purpose of operation.
So, the amateur transceiver modified to operate on the CB or 27 MHz maritime bands cannot be operated on those bands, or indeed, on any other band. In fact, the modification has turned the amateur transmitter into an unlawful non-standard transmitter.
I know that some amateurs have modified their equipment as I have described.
I know that some amateurs have valued such “opened” equipment, and indeed, some equipment has been advertised as “opened”.
But I also know that some people have purchased equipment, perhaps even apparently in the ordinary course of trade, not even knowing that it has been modified and is capable of operating on non-amateur frequencies.
All of this is part of the problem that has to be addressed. It is really the reverse of modifying non-amateur equipment to operate lawfully on the amateur licensee’s permitted frequencies.
In the end the legislation is clear. We cannot modify commercial amateur transceivers to transmit on non-amateur frequencies.
What is surprising is that some amateurs have not appreciated that it is unlawful to use their amateur equipment to transmit on non amateur frequencies, particularly on the CBRS and maritime 27 MHz frequencies.
Perhaps all of this is saying something about what we cover in the “regulations” component of the amateur qualification?
Table Of Contents
GippsTech 2011 - A personal review Roger Harrison VK2ZRH
Pierce Healy VK2APQ, Honorary Life Member of the WIA, is 100 years old! Peter Wolfenden VK3RV
Build your own 200 watt 50 Ohm band- pass filters Roderick Wall VK3YC
The Simple SDR: a basic software defined radio anyone can build – Part One Peter Parker VK3YE
A simple and reliable tuning indicator for a 100 watt HF transmitter Warren Stirling VK3XSW
Plus all the usual Club news and columns
Pierce Healy VK2APQ, Honorary Life Member of the WIA, is 100 years old!
Peter Wolfenden VK3RV
It is often said that good things come in two’s – or is that three’s? In any event, this article provides a suitable record of the second amateur in as many months to reach a magnificent personal milestone, 100 years of age.
Simply to celebrate this achievement, the read is most worthwhile. However, his achievements in amateur radio are such that it is proper we pay due respect to one of those among us who grew up when ‘an amateur really was an amateur’, and who, despite age, still continues to contribute to a hobby that has lasted him a veritable lifetime.
Congratulations Pierce Healy VK2APQ.
GippsTech 2011 - A personal review
Roger Harrison VK2ZRH
This article is one participant’s view of the event, something he can do with aplomb given he was not only an attendee, but a presenter of considerable note.
He provides a personal review of the presentations, and of the event itself. In doing so, he surely would have given cause for thought for many about attending the 2012 GippsTech in due course.
A simple and reliable tuning indicator for a 100 watt HF transmitter
Warren Stirling VK3XSW
The author wanted a simple and reliable tuning meter for his shack, capable of operating on any 100 watt HF RF power source and this article details how the requirements were first determined, how the final circuit was decided upon, and the physical building of the unit – the end result of which was a good quality, and easy to operate unit that met or exceeded all design expectations.
Build your own 200 watt 50 Ohm band- pass filters
Roderick Wall VK3YC
This article discusses the need for, design and building details of a series of single band band-pass filters, for use with power levels up to 200 watts.
As those who constantly chase DX, or operate in contests, or who have been fortunate enough to experience a DXpedition from the business end, QRM can be, and most often is, a real problem. And this almost always happens just when you least want it!
These filters may remove, or at the least, alleviate the problem.
An excellent read.
55 Cookson (Jackson Bros)
55 Hamak Electrical Industries
29 Kuhne Electronic
15, 55 TTS
IFC Vertex Standard (Yaesu)
Page Last Updated: Monday 22 August 2011 at 20:46 hours