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2016 Magazines

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Amateur Radio June 2016

Delivery expected from 26 May


      WIA Member Digital Edition Download


Editorial

CW Today column

Readers will have noted my comments at the end of the CW Today column in the May issue. The WIA Board and I have concerns around the methods used by the author of the column. However, there are always at least two sides to a story. From Louis’ description of events, it appears that many others may have exaggerated the time period and frequency of transmissions made by VK5EEE. I am making no judgement, other than having allowed Louis to publish his explanation.

Identity

Having made that clear, I do need to point out that the images in the column are screen shots from the web. In particular, Photo 1 clearly shows a number of callsigns other than VK5EEE. I must point out that any individual can post to the DX Cluster without confirming the identity used to make that post and any comment. I have had correspondence with Jeff VK3JEF and Paul VK2HV, both of whom note that they did not post any such comment as portrayed in Photo 1 on page 37 of May AR. Jeff notes that anybody could have posted a comment using any callsign.

It was not the intention of this journal to cast a shadow on anyone mentioned or whose callsign was displayed in the images of the CW Today column in the May issue. I apologise to anyone who may have taken offense, and in particular apologise to Paul VK2HV and Jeff VK3JEF who believe that publishing the image places them in a bad light.

Further, I have had a number of authors write to me berating me for continuing to publish the CW Today column. They claim that Mr Szondy has caused significant damage to the DX community.

All that I have seen to date can only be considered to be hearsay. In his May column, Mr Szondy stated that he had transmitted for a short period on the posted transmit frequency of a DXpedition station. I noted that this journal and the WIA did not condone any such actions. We published the column as it was not defamatory to any individual, in our view, and was a valid expression of the author’s views, regardless of whether we agreed or not with such views.

Just as we all can recognise that any individual may post to the DX Cluster any comments using any callsign without any form of validation, I am sure that most will also recognise that almost anyone can transmit a CW signal on any frequency at any time using any callsign they wish. To conclusively prove the identity of the actual station transmitting is difficult. It might be a little simpler to prove the identity of a person transmitting a voice signal, where voice signature technology may be able to be used to identify the person speaking. I appreciate that RF signature recognition might be possible; I have not yet seen any such evidence produced.

It is my view that anyone who claims to have evidence of anyone transmitting in contravention of their Licence Conditions should present such evidence to the appropriate authorities. It is then up to the authorities to consider the evidence and to take any appropriate formal or informal action against the person involved. Note that neither myself as Editor nor the WIA are appropriate authorities.

Until such actions have been taken by the authorities, and notification of such actions passed on to the WIA, as Editor, I cannot take any action myself or on behalf of the WIA. To undertake any such action would be denying the author of such a column of his/her right of natural justice. Any such action is of itself illegal.

I cannot act on hearsay, regardless of how many individuals make claims against another individual. Unless backed by conclusive evidence, the claims are simply that: claims, hearsay.

Comments made via electronic media

It is all too easy for anyone to voice their thoughts via keyboard in an email, or on one of the social media platforms. I urge everyone to think about what they are saying. Resist the temptation to respond immediately to something that you have read. Go away and undertake an unrelated task. Come back to the keyboard, take the time to read all of the available information on all sites, undertake some research. Consider your thoughts carefully before typing them and once again before hitting the Send button. Be a little temperate. It is all too easy in this modern age to be negative. Studies have shown that behaving in a negative manner and using negative language is associated with higher levels of cardiovascular disease, so negativity impacts your own state of health!

Perhaps I am mistaken: I thought that a fundamental principle of Australian society was to give everyone a far go? It seems that many amateurs hold contrary views.

Such is life!

Until next month,
Cheers,
Peter VK3PF

This month’s cover

Interest in 3.4 GHz is increasing, especially with many 3.5 GHz subscriber units made available surplus. See the VHF/UHF column and the Rules for the Winter Field Day. Inset photo: The IC-7300 review starts on page 25. Main photo David Scott VK2JDS. Inset courtesy Icom Australia.

WIA President's Comment

Preparing for the AGM in Norfolk Island

Things have been pretty busy at the WIA in the lead-up to the AGM weekend on Norfolk Island. As you read this comment it may already be underway with about 100 people attending, about the same number as AGM weekends in previous years.

The meeting takes place in two parts. Firstly, a closely-managed formal AGM where the Directors’ report and the Treasurer’s report are presented and discussed. Any questions on those reports are taken. No special business or special motions have been received for the formal AGM. The second part of the meeting is the Open Forum, which is a more wide-ranging question-and-answer discussion on any topic relevant to Amateur Radio or the WIA. The meeting then goes into an afternoon session of interesting presentations. This year, we have arranged to have live audio and video streaming; so, if you’re near a computer or smartphone, you should be able to log-on and view the proceedings.

The WIA has arranged for a commercial “LiveStream” server and is using Norfolk Telecom for the internet feed. Access to the Livestream feed is provided via a page on the WIA website.

One of the issues we constantly face is trying to allocate the various WIA Merit Awards to a large number of very worthwhile nominees. This year is no different, but we have decided to introduce two new WIA Merit Awards: the Michael J. Owen Distinction Award for distinguished service to the WIA and the Foundation Award for outstanding work with the Foundation licence.

The inaugural recipients of those awards will be announced at the AGM.

One other thing we have initiated is a review of the WIA Constitution. We have formed a Constitution Review Committee comprising Peter Young VK3MV, Peter Wolfenden VK3RV and Jenny Owen (Michael Owen’s daughter), with a view to identifying areas in the constitution that need updating. Naturally, any proposed changes to the WIA Constitution will need to go before next year’s AGM in 2017, so there will be plenty of time for discussion and feedback from members in the meantime.

It’s been a busy year of change and it’s fair to say there have been some issues which have sparked some vigorous debate. I’m sure some of those will feature this year.

The WIA has been a strong advocate for Amateur Radio during the federal government’s Spectrum Review process, lodging numerous submissions and attending meetings with both the Department and the ACMA. Recently, the Minister announced the formation of an entirely new Radiocommunications Act, fundamentally changing the way spectrum is administered in Australia. The WIA has recently updated and resubmitted it’s suggestions to the ACMA for changes to the Amateur Service, including the possibility of greater self-determination by adopting a Band Manager or Service Manager approach.

One possibility is that the Commonwealth, through the ACMA, could set the “paddock fence” conditions that regulate Amateur Radio, the interference potential and the international compatibility issues, such as permitted frequency bands and power, licence grades and knowledge requirements, third party traffic conditions etc., together with operational things like permitted modes and bandwidth, usage issues inside each band, etc., could be administered by an “Industry Code” developed by radio amateurs themselves, in much the same way that band plans are now. An Industry Code is much easier to change than subordinate regulation, so this would give Amateur Radio a great deal more flexibility and self-determination.

The WIA has always struggled with a shortage of funds, too much to do and too much reliance on a few key personnel. Along with amateur licence numbers, WIA membership numbers have been slowly declining for some years. However, member expectations seem to be steadily increasing. The WIA is now often benchmarked against large societies like the ARRL or the RSGB, but many people forget that the WIA has only two full-time staff members (the ARRL has almost 100!). How are we going to meet those increasing member expectations while working on a shoe-string budget? The solution may be to make more effective use of technology, or use our volunteer and committee network to a greater extent, or maybe simply better explain what the WIA can and can’t do – the solution probably lies in all those things. I believe this is going to be one of the major challenges for the WIA in the years ahead.

With membership at 31% share of the total Australian amateur population, we are doing significantly better than both the RSGB and the ARRL (both running about 23%), but the very best way to ensure the WIA is an effective representative organisation is to increase the number of members. I believe we do need to put more effort into attracting new members and retaining existing ones, but that’s a job for everyone – not just the WIA, and some recent discussions on social media have not helped the cause. I believe we need to find some creative ways to attract new members.

A highlight of the 2015 year was certainly the ANZAC Centenary celebrations, commemorating the Centenary of ANZAC troops landing at Gallipoli. The WIA initiated the use of the VK100ANZAC and VI#ANZAC callsigns for use by individuals and groups, and over 30,000 on-air contacts were made from an estimated 250 participating stations, with coordinated events in Turkey and New Zealand. Apart from that, it was also good to see so much Parks, SOTA and experimental high altitude balloon activities adding yet another facet to Amateur Radio.

I would like to sincerely thank all those who contributed in a positive way to the WIA during 2015. Particularly all the Directors, WIA Secretary David Williams, our Treasurers, our dedicated staff, the Publications Committee and all other committee members and the very many volunteers who spend countless hours working to provide WIA benefits and services.

Without all of you, there would be no WIA and the Amateur Service in Australia would be a very different thing.

Phil Wait VK2ASD
President

PS. The WIA’s Executive positions are appointed at the first Board meeting after the AGM, usually on the same weekend. It’s been a pleasure acting as President for the past four years. I’m prepared to serve again, but I’m firmly of the view that being President should not be a life-long job.

Table Of Contents

GENERAL
ARRL VE Session at Campbelltown, NSW David Uzzell VK2HDM/AB3ZB
Producing YouTube videos for amateur radio Peter Parker VK3YE
IARU Liaison Report Jim Linton VK3PC
PerthTech Raffle Results Bob Bristow VK6POP
What Happened at the 2016 URC Easter weekend Ken Gold VK2DGT

TECHNICAL

GenSweep Part 1: Overview and Hardware Paul McMahon VK3DIP
Product Review: IC-7300 HF/6 m transceiver: a user perspective Peter Freeman VK3PF
The “steampunk” 70 cm band satellite antenna Dale Hughes VK1DSH

Plus all the usual Club news and columns

ARRL VE Session at Campbelltown, NSW

David Uzzell VK2HDM/AB3ZB

An account of an examination session held in Campbelltown which allowed several Australian amateurs to qualify for a US licence.

Producing YouTube videos for amateur radio

Peter Parker VK3YE

The author outlines a set of recommended principles which outline how to produce an effective short video for presentation via YouTube. The guidelines also apply to other possible uses for short videos, or for preparing a presentation to your local club.

GenSweep Part 1: Overview and Hardware

Paul McMahon VK3DIP

The author presents a useful test instrument that has several applications in the shack of the amateur who wishes to experiment. The story will conclude in the July issue.

Product Review: IC-7300 HF/6 m transceiver: a user perspective

Peter Freeman VK3PF

The author reviews the new Icom IC-7300 HF & 6 m transceiver.

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