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2016 Magazines

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Amateur Radio July 2016

Delivery expected from 22 June


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Editorial

A short break

I am not long back from a short break – I visited Norfolk Island for the WIA AGM and associated activities. It was a great few days, with lots of socialising, some radio activity including activating Mt Bates VK9/NO-001 and the island for VKFF-0392. The daytimes were generally pleasant, with temperatures in the low 20s but with relatively high humidity, with an occasional shower – most of the rain fell at night.

Conditions did not allow for a trip to Phillip Island, but I had an excellent view of the island and Jacky Jacky (VK9/NO-002) during our approach to land. The summit looks as if it will require rock climbing skills and equipment to access the summit, or a helicopter!

The AGM, Open Forum and conference sessions went well, with some lively discussion at times.

There are several reports in this issue regarding the various program components, plus many photographs – thanks to those who submitted images quickly. The Sunday included some more radio activity, when several groups visited Mt Bates in the morning. In the afternoon, I was able to join Keith VK5OQ and others at one end of some microwave contacts on 3.4 GHz and 10 GHz – only a short distance at around 5 km, but very loud signals were easily heard above the strong wind.

There was little time available between the event and the compilation of this issue, so I was working hard on the magazine as soon as I returned home.

Winter hits
The start of the winter season in the southeast of the continent has seen some intense weather. Gippsland was relatively unscathed in comparison to other areas, notably the NSW coast and Tasmania, with storms and floods.

The SOTA “Bonus” season is almost upon us, so Activators will be looking for reasonable weather to head for the higher hills.

Regardless of one’s interests, the winter season is a time to keep an eye on the impacts of heavy weather. Be sure to be safe!

For many, winter is the time to consider hitting the workbench and making progress on some projects.

Several key Club members, including myself, are gearing up for the annual GippsTech Conference. Our final preparations are in full swing. It will be a hectic weekend for all: presenting a great chance to socialise and more importantly to share some new technical information.

Until next month,

Cheers,

Peter VK3PF

This month’s cover

Heath VK3TWO/9 operating portable late in the afternoon on Mount Bates VK9/NO-001. Read several reports on activities on Norfolk Island in this issue. Photograph by Monique Faulkner VK6FMON.

WIA President's Comment

Back to Business

Many people have commented that this year’s AGM and Conference weekend on Norfolk Island was the best the WIA has ever held. I wouldn’t go that far, because they are all different in their own way, but it was held in a unique and beautiful location, and catered to a multitude of interests. In addition to the AGM and Open Forum, there were DXpeditions, Norfolk Island Awards, sightseeing, SOTA and Parks activities, and even a new Norfolk Island distance record for 10 GHz!

I must admit to having two minds about Norfolk Island as the location for our AGM, initially. In previous years, we have relied heavily on the local clubs to organise much of the AGM weekend, but as there is no local club on Norfolk, that responsibility fell most heavily on WIA Directors Fred VK3DAC and Robert VK3DN. Fred and Robert pulled it off expertly and I’m sure everyone who attended is as impressed as I am.

Largely owing to the remote location and the fact we wanted to be as inclusive as possible, this year we trialled live video streaming of the AGM and Open Forum proceedings and took questions from members on notice via a member log-in facility on the WIA website. That worked very well, with many people commenting on the good picture quality, even with the limited facilities on the Island. The WIA Board would like to make live streaming a regular feature of our AGM and Open Forum weekends. We only received a relatively small number of questions via the website this year and, obviously, if we receive large numbers in the future we would need to select questions for ‘live’ reply, or group similar questions together.

The AGM is largely procedural, being concerned mainly with corporate matters, accepting the Directors’ and Treasurer’s reports, welcoming the newly elected Directors, and remembering the Silent Keys. The Open Forum follows the AGM and offers members the opportunity to express their individual opinions and ideas about amateur radio and the WIA. This year, the Open Forum discussed the content and delivery of AR magazine, options for increasing WIA membership, options for attracting young Australians to amateur radio, and a variety of other issues.

The WIA has been running small deficits for a number of years now and, although in no way a threat to the organisation at current levels, we really need to try and turn our finances around. One of the great challenges the WIA now faces is how to both meet the ever increasing need for advocacy at a time of rapid regulatory change, and also meet ever-increasing expectations for services, all with just two full-time staff members and a shoe-string budget.

Some good suggestions came from the Open Forum discussion on how we might be able to achieve this. One suggestion is to introduce a digital-only option for the delivery of AR magazine. A show of hands in the room suggested that about two thirds of those present would prefer to receive their AR magazine digitally, not by paper in the mail. So, if say half the membership preferred to receive their AR magazine digitally that would halve the postage costs. It would also reduce printing costs a little, (though not by half, due to the scale economics of the printing industry). That single initiative could go a long way to reducing the WIA’s expenses and could off-set further membership fee increases.

Another good suggestion was to offer a short-term free Associate Membership of the WIA to all new radio amateurs, including a digital-only copy of AR magazine. This would give new amateurs an introduction to the WIA, and hopefully they would choose to rejoin when the free period expired. Each person could be followed-up with a phone call towards the end of the free membership period.

The retention of existing members may be improved by introducing a system similar to that prevailing in many other community clubs these days, where rejoining each year is automatic unless the member advises they no longer wish to be a member, i.e. an opt-out rather than an opt-in membership renewal process.

The Open Forum also discussed the obvious need to attract more young Australians into the hobby, and the possibility of amateur radio having a part to play with the STE(A)M initiatives being introduced into high schools.

The first meeting of the new WIA Board took place on the Sunday morning. In addition to all the normal business conducted at the first Board meeting each year, such as introducing the new Directors, declaring and recording potential conflicts of interest, and appointing the Executive Officers, the Board identified three key areas for extra special attention. These largely reflect the discussion and feedback during the Open Forum session, and are:
(i) Young Australians;
(ii) Increasing WIA membership;
and
(iii) Strengthening the WIA’s Committee system.

These three items will be at the forefront of Directors’ minds this year, and we hope to have more to say about each of them shortly.

So, it was a very successful AGM weekend and we are looking forward to advancing some important issues identified in the open Forum. Am I glad it’s behind us and we can get back to business? You bet!

P.S. I would like to thank my fellow Directors for their confidence in me for a further year as WIA President, by which time I think it will definitely be somebody else’s turn. The WIA reminds me of Winston Churchill’s comments on democracy: “no one pretends that democracy is perfect or allwise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

Phil Wait VK2ASD
President

Table Of Contents

GENERAL
Eric Clifford Jamieson OAM JP VK5LP Lloyd Butler VK5BR
Look What Geoff Made (An Enigma Machine) Geoff Linthorne VK2GL
December Foxhunt Anthony Benbow VK6AXB
Memoires of a Signaller Barry Abley VK3SY
WIA AGM and Open Forum Phil Wait VK2ASD
An overview of the WIA Annual General Meeting Jim Linton VK3PC
Henry Sutton: the innovative man Lorayne Branch

TECHNICAL

GenSweep Part 2: The Software Paul McMahon VK3DIP

Plus all the usual Club news and columns

Look What Geoff Made (An Enigma Machine)

Geoff Linthorne VK2GL

The author describes the use of his kit-built replica of an Enigma Machine and explains some basics of Codes and Ciphers.

Memoires of a Signaller

Barry Abley VK3SY

The author presents a summary of the service of Corporal Harold Hinkfuss MM, using extracts from the book written by Hinckfuss. It links well with an upcoming activation of VK100ANZAC to commemorate Australia’s first major engagements on the Western Front at Fromelles and Poziéres.

GenSweep Part 2: The software

Paul McMahon VK3DIP

In this concluding account of his useful test instrument, the author describes the software interface to the hardware described in the June issue.

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