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General Information

2018 Magazines

Other years

Amateur Radio
January - February 2018

Delivery Expected 18 January 2018


      WIA Member Digital Edition Download


Editorial

A new era begins
As readers will be aware, the WIA Board decided in September 2017 to reduce the number of issues of this magazine from 11 per year to 6 per year, with the magazine being published bimonthly.

As the Board has outlined, the magazine is the largest single expense for the Institute. If one could clearly identify and aggregate costs into a single line item, one would suspect that the costs of running the office would likely be approaching the costs associated with this magazine. Offsetting the magazine production costs will be the income from advertisers and the relatively small number of copies sold via newsstands each month.

In January and February 2017, the Publications Committee (PubCom) prepared a discussion paper for the Board on mechanisms which might result in significant savings in relation to the magazine. Several options were outlined together with factors that may arise with each option. At the time, the incumbent Board decided to defer any decision until after the Annual General Meeting. The new Board had many issues to consider following the Annual General Meeting, so it took some time until a decision was reached. In the end, the Board decided to adopt the PubCom recommendation – a reduction in the number of issues published each year. Our sister society in New Zealand NZART took the same approach to reduce costs several years ago.

Some information published regarding the costs of producing and distributing Amateur Radio magazine have not been correct. Yes, costs have been rising since 2011, but not to the extent some have claimed. In fact, it is anticipated that the final cost for 2017 will be less than the costs in 2009, when costs peaked and decisions were taken to reduce costs. In 2010, we changed magazine layout and changed some suppliers of services.

I am sure that we will see further changes in the magazine as the year develops and PubCom discusses ideas with the Board and the Strategy Advisory Committee.

Some radio activations

I spent a couple of weeks in Late December making sure that I achieve a good “radio fix”. A couple of days were spent travelling around Gippsland activating Parks, including one VKFF reference that had not yet been activated. I then headed northwards towards Wodonga via a somewhat circuitous route which allowed me at activate two more VKFF references which had not been previously activated.

After arrival in Wodonga, I had a mixture of some time with family and getting out and activating Parks and SOTA summits.

All of this culminated with New Year’s Day, when I activated Mount Stanley on either side of the UTC day and year “rollover”. The SOTA scoring system allows an Activator to score the points for a summit only once per year, based on the UTC clock. So our New Year’s Day allows an Activator to claim the points twice for only a single approach to a summit, with UTC rollover occurring at 11:00 local time in VK3. It became somewhat hectic with activity, attempting to work other Activators on summits for the chaser and Summit to Summit points.

Well after local midday, I shut down the radio and headed off to find some lunch and then found a route to two additional summits which I had not previously activated. It is always a small achievement when one activates a summit for the first time, increased slightly by the fact that by activating these summits I achieved two new “Completes” – summits which I had previously chased and now activated.

But all radio fun trips come to an end, and so I had to return home to complete the tasks associated with completion of this issue of the magazine, plus a long list of domestic chores…

I trust that all have a safe and prosperous year.

Until the next issue,

Cheers,

Peter VK3PF

This issue’s cover
Our cover shows members of the Central Goldfields Amateur Radio Group operating their portable station set up as part of the Mills On The Air event: Mick VK3GGG on the microphone with Tony VK3AJW looking on. Photo by Craig Terry VK3KLI. See the story on page XX.

WIA President's Comment

Focus on the Future

Welcome to 2018.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) gives all stakeholders an opportunity to input into their spectrum management work program. This is done as part of their Five Year Spectrum Outlook (5YSO) prioritisation program.

The Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) as the representative body of amateur radio in Australia takes these opportunities seriously. The WIA compiles information from the various consultations it undertook throughout the year and there were five in 2017. This enables the WIA Spectrum Strategy Committee to formulate an evidence-based view that represents the amateur community in Australia. This view is used to influence the priorities within the ACMA’s Spectrum Management Program.

One principle the WIA is fighting for is to preserve the opportunities for citizens to explore communications technologies and techniques on allocated Amateur Service frequency bands throughout the spectrum. This goes to heart of the ITU definition of the Amateur Service and the objects of the Radiocommunications Act 1992: Preserving the ability to experiment with, or adapt, existing and emerging technologies and applications for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations.

This principle leads to the WIA’s pushing to increase the frequency assignments to the amateur service, especially where they align with amateur allocations in other nations. This also supports harmonisation of frequency allocations with other IARU regions and world-wide. This provides greater opportunity for experimentation and maximises the opportunities for radio amateurs to explore, experiment, learn and communicate.

Spectrum especially UHF and microwave frequencies is under constant threat from a broad range of industries. The WIA fights to maintain the current frequency allocations: however, the WIA also needs to be realistic and be prepared to negotiate and facilitate solutions with the ACMA. The 3.6 GHz band is currently under review and the WIA accepts there will likely be some reassigned to new broadband and entertainment services.

In summary the WIA’s input to the ACMA 5YSO prioritisation program includes:
  Harmonisation and extension of 1.8 - 2.0 MHz
  Harmonisation and extension of 3.8 - 4.0 MHz
  New secondary allocation at 5.3 MHz – WIA pushing for response and action
  Primary allocation in the 50-52 MHz band
  Secondary allocation in the 70 MHz band
  Allocation in the 803-804 MHz band for LIPD class licence for STEM educational programs
  Seeking retention of amateur access to 3.575 - 3.600 GHz outside of the specific geographic areas where future licensed services are deployed.

The Board has received some inquiries about the Licence Conditions Determination (LCD) submission following the three consultation surveys in June 2017. The WIA will be submitting to the ACMA the LCD submission around the same time as the 5YSO submission.

The first survey results clearly show that future amateur radio licencing must not be less than what is embodied in the current apparatus licencing. Amateurs overwhelmingly want to see reduced regulation and greater self-determination. In relation to permitted power levels – it must be reviewed in a sensible, pragmatic way for all licence levels taking into account personal safety and electromagnetic emissions.

The second survey results clearly show the need for digital models for Foundation licensees and access to more bands for Foundation licensees. Overwhelming support for more power for Foundation licensees and ability to use non-commercially manufactured transceivers especially, in this world of digital experimentation and readily available kits. A high level of support was received for a review of Foundation callsigns. Support for Standard licensees’ access to more bands and higher power levels. Support for a relaxation of permitted bandwidths to reduce prescription across all licence levels. For advanced licensees there was support for harmonisation and extension in 160 m and 80 m, new allocation at 5.3 MHz, primary status in 50-52 MHz, secondary allocation in 70-70.5 MHz and secondary allocation in 918-925 MHz ISM band. There was overwhelming support for a relaxation of permitted bandwidths and an increase in power to 1000 W where the operator can demonstrate compliance. The second survey finished with a question about balancing future conditions that satisfy the regulations with upgrade incentives making upgrading more attractive. Respondents were overwhelmingly in favour of this balance.

The third survey sought to address outstanding issues with licence conditions. The first question asked about clarifying the interference, station identification, retransmission and operation of repeaters and there was overwhelming support for clarification especially on the operation of repeaters. The second area was the use of internet connected repeaters systems by Foundation licensees and there was over whelming support for clarification and simplification. There was also overwhelming support for clear visibility of the licensees’ Electromagnetic Emission compliance responsibility. The last question asked in this survey sought to review callsign patterns, the use of prefixes and suffixes to determine if they are still fit-for-purpose and there was good support demonstrated.

There were over 1100 respondents to the surveys across all licence levels and across all VK call areas. I thank all who took part in the surveys. By the time this Board comment goes to print the LCD submission will be with the ACMA for consideration and further discussion. The WIA will be pushing to expedite the implementation of the LCD recommendations: however, the WIA is aware the ACMA’s current focus is on implementing the new Radiocommunications Act. Amateurs need to remember that our licence conditions and callsign assignment is different to all other spectrum users and what we pay for our privileges is low compared to other users. Stay tuned!

Justin Giles-Clark VK7TW on behalf of the WIA Board.

Table Of Contents

GENERAL

JOTA in Far North Queensland 2017 Mike Patterson VK4MIK
Amateur Radio magazine: a new beginning Jim Linton VK3PC
The CQ World Wide Contest for non-contesters Michael J Charteris VK4QS/VK4XQM
Truk (Chuuk) DX trip Kevin Kelly VK3HKK
Sydney Harbour Ferry Contest Laurie Gordon VK2GZ
Australia celebrates its Mills Tony Falla VK3KKP
TAC Notes John Martin VK3KM
Should we close the QSL Bureaus? John Seamons VK3JLS
Historical changes 60 years ago shape today Jim Linton VK3PC
Four Australian Ground Stations provide HAMTV Chain for ARISS contact Francesco De Paolis IKØWGF

TECHNICAL

2 m homebrew duplexer Albert (Bert) Gnaccarini, VK3TU
The ZS6BKW antenna – build a superior alternative to the G5RV Chris Meagher VK2ACD
New digital mode for LF/MF Murray Greenman ZL1BPU
An alternative and affordable antenna elevator type mast Dale Anderson VK4NBX

Plus all the usual Club news and columns

Australia celebrates its Mil

Tony Falla VK3KKP

The “xyz” On The Air movement appears to be strong in the UK. We have IOTA, SOTA and many other OTA activities. The author reports on a Club activation of a local Mill as part of the Mills On The Air weekend. Another activity in which Clubs and individuals might consider participating.

Four Australian Ground Stations provide HAMTV Chain for ARISS contact

Francesco De Paolis IKØWGF

The author reports on the recent Television link up for an ARISS contact to a School in Italy, in which Australian amateurs played significant roles.

The ZS6BKW antenna – build a superior alternative to the G5RV

Chris Meagher VK2ACD

The author reports on the features of this multiband HF doublet antenna, which may be considered as an enhanced version of the popular G5RV doublet. He then describes how he built his antenna.

An alternative and affordable antenna elevator type mast

Dale Anderson VK4NBX

The author outlines an alternative to the traditional steel mast or tower which can be constructed in the backyard by those with the appropriate mix of skills.

Advertisers Index

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Page Last Updated: Wednesday 17 January 2018 at 14:29 hours