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General Information

2012 Magazines

Other years

Delivery expected from January 27

Editorial

Happy New Year

I trust that all readers enjoyed a merry festive season and are now enjoying the New Year.

Personally, I had almost three weeks of family activities. My mother joined me during the week prior to Christmas for a stay and the Christmas celebrations. After a bit of retail therapy at the Boxing Day sales in Traralgon, we travelled up to Walwa in the north east of Victoria to visit my brother. En route, I had a couple of contacts on 40 metres from inside the Alpine National Park, trying to promote the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award and qualify by activating some Parks that were located near my route. After several days at Walwa, and another Park activation, we travelled into Wodonga to visit my other brother and his family for a few days before returning home to Churchill. After another few days at home, it was time to return mother back to her home on the Bellarine Peninsula. I took the Queenscliff-Sorrento ferry for the trip home, and activated the Point Nepean and Mornington Peninsula National Parks. All together I managed to activate eight National Parks over the two weeks or so of travelling, so I am now well on the way towards qualifying for the Award based on activating parks. More detail about the Award can be found on the Amateur Radio Victoria website.

During one of the contacts I made, whilst discussing the Award with a VK4 amateur, the question was raised about which parks qualified. I was able to report that only Victorian National Parks qualified for the award. Perhaps other states, or even the WIA, might consider establishing a similar award for working or activating National Parks around the country? If amateurs think that it is a good idea, let your local club or state Advisory Committee know of your thoughts.

The next challenge after deciding to develop the idea would likely to be finding a volunteer to manage the award…

New printing and distribution processes

After considerable discussion and consideration of our options, the WIA has decided to move the printing of Amateur Radio to a new printer and distribution to a new mailing house.

As part of the change of arrangements, we have decided to adopt a glossier paper stock and to adopt colour throughout the magazine. Hopefully the transition will be smooth, but we might experience some hurdles. Remember that any issues concerned with distribution should be directed to the WIA office.

Production remains with Fontana Design and I am certain that Sergio will be working hard to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible.

Contributions

We are slowly catching up with the publication of backlogged articles, most of which have been ready for publication for up to 12 months. I anticipate that most such articles will have been published in the next issue or two, leaving us with articles submitted up to about six (6) months ago.

At the moment, we have predominantly technical articles in stock, so consider writing up your account of the latest Club event or of your operating experience.

The one issue with which we continue to struggle is the supply of high quality photographs suitable to use on the cover. Ideally, the candidate photograph should relate to an article published in that issue of AR.

Remember to set your camera to record the image at the highest possible resolution (i.e. large file size) but send us your photo at lower resolution – say as a jpg image of around 1 MB. If we think that your photo is suitable, we will contact you seeking the higher resolution image.

Guidelines on how to prepare an article can be found on the WIA website – look for the AR magazine pages under “Members Area” and click the link to “Contributing material”.
Cheers,

Peter VK3PF

This month’s cover

Our cover this month depicts the team from the Oceania DX Group YJ0VK DXpedition to Vanuatu. The group was active from 30 September to 12 October 2011. The team members are (left to right): Ian Jackson VK3BUF, Dianne Jackson VK3JDI, Tom Kramer NQ7R, Michael Van Den Acker VK3GHM, Luke Steele VK3HJ, Ben Pyfer N6MUF, Chris Chapman VK3QB (the team leader) and Lee Moyle VK3GK. Photo by Ian Jackson VK3BUF.

WIA President's Comment

Cost recovery and the WIA’s charges

In the News section of this issue is an item “ACMA Proposes Cost Increases: WIA Costs Not Affected”. It was published in late November last year, in response to the strong concern expressed by a number of amateurs who were concerned that the higher examination costs proposed by the ACMA for examinations it conducted would also apply to WIA examination charges. The ACMA was proposing to charge $345 for the examination or reassessing an examination for the Advanced AOCP and $230 for the examination or reassessing an examination for the Foundation AOCP.

In fact, I had planned to write this Comment about the whole issue of cost recovery. I had attended a most constructive meeting of affiliated clubs in Adelaide, and during that meeting some doubt had been expressed about the fees the WIA was charging, some holding the view that the WIA fee included a very substantial margin.

Everyone seems to be prepared to accept that the WIA is bound by its agreement with the ACMA to charge fees “on a cost recovery basis only”, and that it has to justify its fees on an annual basis to the ACMA. . But there seemed to be a feeling “how on earth could just processing one paper cost the WIA $70?”

But what we are concerned with is the total cost to the WIA of providing a service. That cost must then be spread over the number of actual examinations for which we charge.

Let us look at what that really means.

By keeping time sheets for sample periods, we can work out how much time each employee spends on exam matters. That means the time taken to prepare and send packs, including any time for phone calls. Then, when the packs come back, the processing is fairly obvious. But what may not be obvious is the time taken every now and then in calling a candidate to get some information that should have been on the form, for example height, or if it is something that must be completed by an Assessor, sending the form back to the Assessor. There is also the time for preparing the certificate of proficiency, making a copy for the records, and sending it.

Time also includes time in answering queries from both Assessors and the general public.

But then there are the other costs. Some again, are obvious such as the cost of paper and envelopes, the cost of the Express Post envelopes we send to each Assessor with the packs for them to return the pack. But others may not be so obvious. For example, the cost of the printing of the certificates of proficiency is spread over a couple of years.

Then there is insurance. Various policies are referable, in part, to the examination service and must be taken into account.

But there is one policy that indemnifies the Assessors against their possible liability for an error and the whole of that premium is referable to the exams. That policy costs around $5,000 a year. If we conduct 1,000 exams in year for which a fee is paid, (because Foundation Theory and Practical is covered by a single fee) that insurance policy alone adds $5 to the cost of each exam.

That probably is the best example of how the cost of managing the system can be increased.

We recently said that we would, if an Assessor requested it, meet the costs of certain travel or a police check.

The first was because some of our Assessors were being asked to provide assessments for clubs other than their own clubs, but which did not have Assessors, and were finding the cost of travel a disincentive to helping with these special assessments. The second arose because it seemed quite unfair that in some states the working with children check was free, in some others $5 and in one territory $43.

Of course, immediately we do that, we also add to cost.

And then there are all the other costs. Telephone, power, a notional rent for the space used for providing the exam service, (including storage of all of the records), equipment depreciation and so on are costs that at least in part relate to this service.

And you must do exactly the same exercise for callsign recommendations!

I can assure you that the cost is not made up and does not include a large margin. Indeed, if the number of candidates drops, we will struggle to keep the costs down.

I hope that explains how the costs of the WA exams are calculated.

The ACMA charges may be all rather academic, because I do not think the ACMA has conducted any examination since at least 2005.

But there is one important lesson we can learn from the ACMA proposed charges, described in the News item:

Why are the WIA costs so much less than the ACMA costs? For the simple reason that so much is done on a voluntary basis. All the Assessors and Learning Facilitators, the WIA’s RTO and the many others involved one way or another give their time.

Knowing how much it costs the WIA in fact to provide the services is very important in two ways. One is that it is not in the interests of amateur radio for the costs of becoming an amateur to be more than the minimum. The other is that if the WIA is charging less than the actual cost it incurs it means that its members are paying for the shortfall, which will ultimately lead to even further membership fee increases.



Table Of Contents

GENERAL

DX station YJ0VK activated for 2011 Ian Jackson VK3BUF (YJ0AUF)
WIA adopts new General Rules for contests Trent Sampson VK4TI
Amateur Radio Annual Index 2011 Don Jackson VK3DBB

TECHNICAL

An earth stake with a difference Warren Stirling VK3XSW
Foundation Corner 18: A simple two metre half wave dipole with gamma match Ross Pittard VK3CE
The ‘Dibble’ digital mode interface box, with an introduction to PSK31 Ross Fraser VK2WN
Ten tips for ten watts – by someone who does it with twoPeter Parker VK3YE

Plus all the usual Club news and columns

DX station YJ0VK activated for 2011

Ian Jackson VK3BUF (YJ0AUF)

Arguably, DXing and contesting are the two true ‘growth’ segments of amateur radio, with participation and general interest in both growing in leaps and bounds, fuelled by relatively inexpensive travel costs, and the immense growth in computer technology that allows amateurs, among others, to be ever so much more ‘professional’ in their DXing and contesting endeavours.
This is a simple story of one such DXpedition, with majority Australian participation (itself very unusual) in what, although not a significantly large effort, certainly was quite a successful one.
For DXers, a good read.

WIA adopts new General Rules for contests

Trent Sampson VK4TI

Following considerable discussion amongst members of the WIA Contest Committee, a new set of General Rules have been adopted for all WIA sponsored contests. The WIA Contest Committee is composed of two WIA Directors and the managers of each of the major WIA contests.

An earth stake with a difference

Warren Stirling VK3XSW

Correct earthing of all things electrical in amateur radio operations is, to put it bluntly, absolutely necessary to assist one’s hardware to perform to its maximum.

The author enjoys operating portable from time to time, and to that end, purchased a generator to power his portable station.

The necessity to earth the generator when operating portable was the particular basis for this article, detailing as it does how to build a relatively simple earth stake that would provide an ease of use better than usual, with particular attention also paid to ensuring what was fabricated was a quality piece of equipment.

Ten tips for ten watts – by someone who does it with two

Peter Parker VK3YE

This article gives very useful advice to all amateurs, but particularly to those who may be new to the hobby, on how to operate for maximum effectiveness and enjoyment with low power output, either because of choice, licence level or equipment capability.
It also highlights good (aka sensible) operating techniques, and engenders respect both for the hobby in general, and for fellow amateurs in particular, and is worth a read from all active amateurs. It is highly likely you will improve your own on-air operating technique, and results, not to mention enjoyment, if you do.

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Files For Download

Erratum: The Dibble - A digital mode interface box, with an introduction to PSK31
Erratum The Dibble.pdf


Page Last Updated: Tuesday 17 January 2012 at 9:40 hours