Amateur Radio January 2016
Delivery expected on or after 28 January 2016
WIA Member Digital Edition Download
The New Year begins…
As we have seen in the News releases from the WIA, there have been some changes in our organisation. Notably, two Directors have resigned. The Board has decided to see out the remainder of their year with only six directors, having appointed Paul VK5PAS to fill the vacancy arising from the resignation of Chris Platt VK5CP.
Any member who is interested in serving on the Board has only a very short time to nominate – hard copy nominations must be received by 31 January 2016 at the WIA office.
If we have more nominations than positions available, I would expect that voting papers will be distributed with a coming issue of Amateur Radio. I urge members to carefully consider the candidates and to participate in the election by completing and returning the voting papers.
We will expect to see an announcement sometime in the near future about a replacement Executive Officer for the WIA. Fred VK3DAC is currently filling that role, but I know that he is keen to return to a more normal life.
Social media – friend or foe?
I have noticed that there is a lot of discussion on social media regarding the WIA and its performance (or perceived lack thereof!). Some attempts to deliver some simple facts are being interpreted as the author being abusive. It seems that sometimes you can never win or even attempt to enlighten some individuals – they appear to have either closed minds or extremely narrow perspectives. They certainly do not allow the facts to get in the way of their views. Oops – perhaps I should not have made such a statement, despite giving a general perspective on content of some posts, without identifying any individuals!
One thing is clear: several (many?) people seem to consider having the AGM of the WIA on Norfolk Island is somehow going to cost the Institute extra money. In reality, the travel costs for anyone to attend the meeting are unlikely to be significantly different from those of attending the meetings held in Perth or Darwin. I see that argument as a Furphy – a falsehood without foundation. The meeting venue has created a storm of comment. But how many of the individuals who are protesting have attended any of the meetings in recent years, I wonder?
One thing that is clear is that there are legitimate means by which members can raise their issues with our organisation which should be more productive than posting on social media.
Everyone needs to remember that the WIA has a very small paid staff: the Executive Officer (once appointed) and a single staff member who deals with the Assessment Services and requests for callsigns. The latter role is governed by the agreement between the WIA and the ACMA and the associated fees cover the costs of the role.
The WIA cannot be compared to the ARRL or the RSGB, which have much larger membership bases and can therefore afford to have large numbers of staff to undertake many roles. Much of the day to day work of the WIA is undertaken by volunteers, many of whom are also still in full-time employment in a normal (non-WIA) job. Whilst most individuals acting as volunteers attempt to give a response quickly, sometimes that is not possible. So if you place an enquiry with the WIA, please be patient and give a few days for a response to be sent back to you. If you have received no response in a week, it may be worth asking the question again, as something may have gone awry.
Accessing the Digital Edition
I have received a couple of emails regarding accessing the Digital Edition of this magazine. One reason for the questions was that a hiccup in the automated systems failed to send out an email notice when the Digital Edition became available. I am aware that the issue is being examined but am unsure when the problem will be resolved.
But it is easy to find the Digital Edition on the WIA website. Simply navigate from the home page to the AR page for the month of interest:
Look for For Members on the main menu, then move down the pop-up menu and click on
AR magazine (under the “Member Benefits” heading)
From the menu on the left of screen, select the Year of interest and then the month.
When the page for that month opens, the link to the Digital Edition should be near the top of the main panel. If you have not yet done so, you will be asked to log in via Memnet. Remember that the Digital Edition is usually available from the anticipated date of delivery of the paper magazine to addresses in Melbourne.
Until next month,
This month’s Cover
This month our cover shows Roger VK2ZRH/1 operating VK100ANZAC on 10 GHz from Mt Ainslie in the ACT as part of the launch of the ANZAC Centenary celebrations on ANZAC Day 2015. Photo by Fred Swainston VK3DAC.
WIA President's Comment
2016 – A year of Challenges
A New Year is always a good time to take stock of where we are, and where we want to go.
Last year, three key items took quite a lot of the WIA’s time: The ANZAC Centenary celebrations; submissions and representations to the Department of Communications’ Spectrum Review and the restructure of the WIA national office. The last two are still works in progress.
The Spectrum Review has entered its implementation phase and the WIA is expecting quite wide-ranging changes to the administration and licensing of the Amateur Service. The WIA made extensive recommendations for changes to the Amateur Service and the Amateur Licence Conditions Determination (the LCD), and those discussions with the ACMA will continue during 2016 as the Review outcomes are progressively implemented.
The other major item in 2015 was the restructure of the WIA national office in Bayswater, VIC. The Office Manager position has been replaced with an Executive Administrator position, and by the time this magazine appears, hopefully, that position will be filled. WIA Vice President Fred Swainston has been contracted in that position in the interim period, and member service and the WIA business activities have both improved considerably.
The WIA national office is a busy place, and the two full-time positions are fully occupied answering the various phone calls and emails, fulfilling the ACMA business commitments, bookshop and merchandise sales, and all the other day-to-day membership, accounting and administrative functions. At the current membership rates the WIA can’t afford additional staff, so we need to take a closer look at how the WIA functions and try to reduce the workload in the national office as much as possible. That’s going to be one of the major challenges of 2016, and the solution probably involves using our many volunteers and committee members more effectively.
But, there is an even bigger issue.
When the single national WIA was formed in 2004, it was structured with principal control vested in a small Board of elected Directors, with a number of specialist “advisory” groups making recommendations to the Board. The new structure made the WIA a more flexible and responsive organisation, better able to meet ongoing and emerging challenges, and as much as possible avoid the previous conflicts and delays in making policy changes that sometimes occurred under the old Divisional system. The new structure has served us well, especially during the recent Spectrum Review process where policy discussion papers needed to be responded to very quickly indeed, often within only a few weeks. With the new structure, the WIA has also enjoyed a long period of stability – long may it continue!
However, the down-side is that the WIA does not really have an effective two-way member consultation structure in place, where matters of concern to members can be brought up to the Board and be dealt with quickly and easily and on an equal basis. I believe this lack of a consultative structure is a shortcoming of the present WIA and the organisation risks being ensnared by the ‘squeaky-door syndrome’ (or is it now the ‘Facebook syndrome’?), where the loudest voices get the greatest attention. The WIA Board would very much like to find a way to improve member and affiliated club consultation, and finding a way to achieve that without reverting to an unwieldy structure is going to be another challenge of 2016.
In December last year, in the normal course of events under our Constitution, the WIA called for nominations for Directors. In a President’s Comment, way back in 2007, President Michael Owen VK3KI (SK) discussed what it means to be a WIA Director. Michael thought it worth raising the whole question because “anyone considering nominating will think about what he or she can contribute to the WIA and then, when members are asked to vote, they will consider what each candidate can contribute, and hopefully look to a Board of Directors with synergistic skills and experience”.
Michael’s comments are as relevant today as they were then. In using the term ‘synergistic’, Michael expressed the key to an effective Board because, when synergistic components work together, more is accomplished than could be done alone.
These days, the WIA Board meets monthly by Go-to-Meeting teleconference and communicates most frequently by email. That means that, as Michael said, “you do have to be responsive and able to express yourself adequately in writing to try and ensure that all points are properly considered. And, you also have to read a lot.”
Continuing, Michael emphasised that “much of it that has to be read is dry, regulatory stuff. Certainly not scintillating! That is because the directors are asked to provide input on many policy issues, whether it is a draft Determination, a Request for Expression of Interest, responding to a discussion paper, or just a report on an area where the WIA is represented. Much of the important work of the Board is involved in things that are not the fun of Amateur Radio, rather, what many find much less interesting.”
“In addition, while each Director may take a special responsibility for particular matters, such as contests or QSLs, the WIA relies on people who are appointed as coordinators or managers to look after those areas.”
“On the other hand, a Director who takes responsibility for a matter has to ensure that the matter is brought to finality. You not only need the time to deal with the daily emails, but also to complete particular tasks you undertake.”
“Actually, what the Board needs is a mixture of skills. In (Michael’s) view, underlying the Board’s approach to virtually every question, the economics of publishing a book or magazine, the management of the ACMA Amateur qualification examination system, indeed the whole question of ACMA outsourcing, taking responsibility for the financial outcomes of the company, the subscriptions we charge, the insurance cover we seek, all involve a mixture of managerial, accounting, financial, commercial and other skills. The WIA would not be served by a Board made up solely of accountants any more than it would by a Board of only communication engineers.”
“Yes, of course we want true Amateurs. But a mix of technical, managerial, commercial and professional experience and skills at Board level means that the WIA is better equipped to meet the challenges of the next period” .
Michael goes on to ask: “Does it matter where people come from? ” and answers: “One of the criticism of the structure of the WIA before it became a single national body was that policy was determined by people representing a particular state or territory, and so it was said a position could be based on what was seen as being in the best interests of a group, rather than in the best interests of Amateur Radio as a whole. Today, no Director represents a particular group or area. Each Director must act in the best interests of all members”.
The Board cannot act to please all members at all times and, more recently, the phenomenon of the Keyboard Warrior on Facebook can make the job pretty challenging when a few people disagree. Michael suggested that a thick skin is also needed – I would add to that a very well developed sense of humour.
Michael sums it up this way: “In short, being a Director of the WIA is nothing like being a member of a tennis club committee, where there is a monthly meeting and all correspondence is read out, every payment is discussed, every issue, like whether the club can afford better biscuits, is discussed. Being a WIA Director means a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of reading and a lot of writing” ... and a director must be prepared to be very responsive on a day-to-day basis, and aspire to high professional standards. It’s also important to realise that, although the Board tries to achieve consensus in decisions, not every Board member is going to agree on every issue and, at the end of the day, all decisions are a majority decision. If a decision on a heart-felt issue doesn’t go your way it’s important to be able to move on, and maybe try again another day.
Michael’s closing comments still hold true in 2016, “the WIA faces new and real challenges; if you have the skills and experience and the time and the interest, then it can be totally satisfying, because you are working to secure the future of Amateur Radio”.
Phil Wait VK2ASD
PS. There is still time to put in your nomination as a Director of the WIA. At the time of writing, we have received only three nominations, but I’m hoping more will be forthcoming. In other Board changes: Rowan Dollar has resigned as a Director, and we welcome our new Director, Paul Simmons VK5PAS, carrying on up to the next election in place of Chris VK5CP, who has been appointed a Commissioner to the Fair Work Commission. We also welcome our new WIA Treasurer, Chris Chapman VK3QB. The national office is back in business after the Christmas break, and Fred tells me that he is well and truly on top of it.
Table Of Contents
WIA ANZAC 100 closing address Jim Linton VK3PC
Activating Mount McKay in the Snow Season Keith Gooley VK5OQ
VI8ANZAC operations in 2015 Stuart Birkin VK8NSB
Ham celebrates 105 years Ian Sutcliffe VK5IS
Band monitoring in Australia during WWII Peter Wolfenden VK3RV
Guy Fletcher Gridsquares Table at 13 December 2015 David Smith VK3HZ
Four Weeks in November - on the 2015 World Radiocommunications Conference Dale Hughes VK1DSH
SunSDR2 PRO review Andrew Barron ZL3DW
From BACAR to Pico Ballooning - Part 1 Jim Linton VK3PC
Plus all the usual Club news and columns
VI8ANZAC operations in 2015
Stuart Birkin VK8NSB
As part of the “last hurrah” effort, VI8ANZAC was active in December. The author gives us an account of the activities.
We also have the text of the closure address from WIA President Phil Wait VK2ASD, plus a summary of the VI3ANZAC activations in the VK3 notes.
Four Weeks in November - on the 2015 World Radiocommunications Conference
Dale Hughes VK1DSH
The author presents a summary of his activities during the lead up to and during the recent World Radio Conference, together with some issues that the amateur fraternity will need to confront at the next Conference.
SunSDR2 PRO review
Andrew Barron ZL3DW
The author is an SDR enthusiast and presents a comprehensive review of the SunSDR2 PRO transceiver and matching software. Many readers will already be well aware of the capabilities of SDR transceivers, which are being more common in the market place.
63 Cookson Controls
13 Ham Radio House
15 Kuhne electronic
63 TTS Systems
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Page Last Updated: Saturday 10 September 2016 at 20:28 hours