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General Information

2018 Magazines

Other years

Amateur Radio
March - April 2018

Delivery Expected from 15 March 2018


      WIA Member Digital Edition Download


Editorial

More portable radio fun

I spent the first few days of February travelling and participating in the now annual SOTA Hotham Summit weekend. I left home early on Thursday afternoon. After a stop for a quick catch up with friends in Bairnsdale, I travelled to a SOTA summit in the hills to the north for a dose of radio activity and some exercise before heading towards Swifts Creek and then Omeo. On Friday, I activated three summits before returning to Omeo to purchase some supplies prior to heading up to Hotham. You can find summary of the SOTA activities on Saturday, Sunday and Monday in this month’s SOTA and Parks column. Several of the participants have also posted accounts to their personal blogs.

I then spent Monday and Tuesday in northeast Victoria catching up with family prior to the trip home. During that drive, I completed a further five SOTA activations, including three summits that I had not previously visited and saw some spectacular terrain whilst travelling some tracks that were at times very rough.

A couple of weeks later saw the VK3 SOTA Conference held at MDRC, for another opportunity to talk about all things SOTA. The following day was the WANDARC Hamfest in Werribee where I caught up with many amateurs.

Contest column

Trent Sampson VK4TS has indicated that he can no longer supply a regular column focussing on Contesting. We therefore need a new columnist if the column is to continue. The task requires a little thought and submitting material according to our production schedule. We can provide editorial assistance if needed. Anyone interested should send an Expression of Interest to the Editor using: editor@wia.org.au

Articles

Our supply of articles is dwindling. If you the reader wants to read articles about your hobby here in Australia written by locals, then we need more contributions from you and/or your colleagues. We need both Technical and General articles. We provide guidelines for authors on the WIA website: http://www.wia.org.au/members/armag/contributing/
Material is best supplied in electronic form, with the text in a Word document and any images as jpg format of at least 1 MB. We can assist with technical drawings if needed.

We always review all material, so do not expect your material to appear immediately. Some patience will be required. We attempt to publish material as quickly as possible, but must also attempt to produce a magazine which has a balance of material across several areas.

Death of Jim Linton VK3PC

It is sad to note the death of Jim Linton VK3PC in late February. A tribute is published elsewhere in the issue.

WIA Radio and Electronics Convention and AGM

Most readers will have by now seen the basic details for the forthcoming WIA Radio and Electronics Convention and AGM to be held in mid-May at the Gold Coast. Details are available at the WIA website. It is important that those considering attending should register as soon as possible.

These events are a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and to make new friendships, plus it is one of the few opportunities to actively participate in democratic processes of your organisation.

Until next issue,

Cheers,

Peter VK3PF

This issue’s cover:

The WSJT-X software provides several Machine Generated Modes each tailored to particular conditions. Part 1 outlines the operating capabilities of the software. The main photo shows the 12-element Yagi antenna used by DL1VPL to complete DXCC on 144 MHz. The story commences on page 14. Main photo by Thomas Hartig DL1VPL.

WIA President's Comment

Strategy workshop outcomes

In February 2018 the WIA Board conducted a workshop with members of the WIA Strategy Advisory Committee to take a high-level, long-term view of the Institute. The workshop considered the core purpose of the WIA and the value engine that drives it.

The goal of the workshop was to form a draft statement of the WIA’s core purpose. The statement is to be used as a model to be tested and considered by WIA members and the Amateur Radio community. A core purpose is:
  Inspiring
  Valid today, and 100+ years from now
  Expansive and thought provoking
  Helps identify what activities to do, and what not to do
  Authentic and brings pride to those that identify with it

The core purpose helps frame services, initiatives, and what the organisation will and won’t do. It also helps identify what its shorter-term missions will be. The core purpose statement is extremely helpful in aligning efforts, across many people, to move towards a common goal pursuing what is at the heart of the WIA’s identity.

There is some precedent. Within the WIA’s existing constitution the objects of the WIA are stated as:
  to promote, advance and represent in any way it thinks fit Amateur Radio and the interests of Radio Amateurs, […],
  to protect and enhance the privileges of Radio Amateurs,
  to encourage an awareness of the value of Amateur Radio,
  to educate and encourage potential Radio Amateurs,
  to represent Radio Amateurs both nationally and internationally, to provide services for Radio Amateurs and those interested in Amateur Radio, […]

The workshop independently produced core purpose statements that were similar to the WIA’s objects. Keeping in mind that the organisations core purpose statement is to operate to a timeline that will rarely be exhausted and will be an aspirational goal to stand the test of time, a key difference from the workshop was the definition of “Amateur Radio”. Amateur Radio is a difficult definition to frame in a 100+ year time line. The core purpose needs to account for this shifting definition to assist the organisation to remain relevant. In the longer term Amateur Radio will look very different to what it is today and the WIA’s strategy must support these changing times.

Arching back to previous models, to a time when Amateur Radio was in significant growth, the Amateur Radio community existed to promote experimentation with electronics and technology. The first steps in the hobby involved building simple circuits that did not necessarily involve radio and those first steps built and cultivated curiosity towards more complex pursuits. Amateur Radio was the pinnacle of experimentation and an end-goal rather than its current position as the initial landing point in the Hobby. Having the first step in the hobby as becoming licenced causes a high initial hurdle for new entrants. The progression through building simple circuits to more complex pursuits came in a time when learning about electronics was a key first stepping stone in many people’s career. Today, and tomorrow, that environment is different. Technology careers are moving towards systems engineering, outsource management and away from component engineering. These points were informed and supported by the recent WIA member and community survey. A thought to ponder, in a 100+ year time frame is Amateur Radio better being considered as “technology experimentation”?

These preliminary discussions highlight missions that the WIA may need to maintain going into the future, such as:
  Aiding the hobby electronics community to prosper
  Reducing the barriers to entry into the hobby and reducing the contributors to abandoning the hobby.
  Setting Amateur Radio as a pinnacle technology within the hobby electronics community. This includes supporting the allocation of resources to Amateur Radio operators, supporting market innovators, and celebrating pioneers.

These potentially need to be supported by core competencies such as:
  As it is unlikely that the WIA will have the resources to have a large team of full time employees, coordinate volunteers in a manner that demonstrates respect, identifies common goals, recognises achievements, builds team spirit, provides development and training opportunities, and is accommodating of a wide range of skills and availability.
  Being able to coordinate initiatives so that they do not degrade the effectiveness of the institute.
  Maintain a high level of project execution capability in an environment where inputs and constraints are highly variable.
  Ability to collect, coordinate and collate outputs from consultation processes with the community in a short amount of time.
  An ability to communicate effectively across a wide range of channels (print, web, mobile, radio and so-on) in a manner that is engaging and targeted to a wide range of audience segments.
  Marketing and the promotion of developments to support the enthusiasm of hobbyist technologists.
  Support social interaction and an effective community. Including supporting clubs, events and virtual gatherings.
  Hobbies are competing with mostly entertainment products so help people continue to find the fun in the hobby.

To support these core competencies there are shorter-term tactical steps required, such as:
  Leverage common access to resources, content and common branding. Align media, communication and the different communication methods to engage members of the community.
  Move closer to a customer centric perspective. For services like AR magazine this means moving advertising and readership closer to the product producers and owners rather than the historic separation that has been in place. For other services this means leveraging better consultation methods, quantitative and qualitative understanding of community interactions (the new ticketing system helps here) and building more service agility.
  Working with, and lobbying regulators for resources and authorisation to operate (such as bandwidth, modes and power).
  Stepwise and continuous improvement of the WIA’s application of its limited resources.
  Review, update and capture media and communication channels for the purposes of engaging members of the community.
  Maintain and nourish the steps between electronic experimentation and Amateur Radio. This is where initiatives such as the WIA associate program assist.
  Promote and support hobby electronics along with component and system engineering.
  Supporting learning, assessment and exploration.
  Promote the positive activities of the amateur radio community to the public.

These are just a few of many possible outcomes from a strategic process. The first step is in defining the WIA’s core purpose as an anchor point. The Board enjoyed the workshop and we look forward to opening the discussion through a community consultation soon. Ultimately these discussions will help us form a strategy that will be robust and see the WIA and the hobby into an exciting future and period of uplift.

On behalf of your WIA Board,

David Ford VK4MZ
WIA Vice President.

Table Of Contents

GENERAL

50 years old and still circulating! Peter Wolfenden VK3RV
Notice of Annual General Meeting WIA
TAC Notes Peter Mill VK3APO, Peter Cossins VK3BFG and John Martin VK3KM
The Challenges of Hamming Blind Joseph Stephen VK5JKS
Landing Whales on Wet String Michael J. Charteris VK4QS & VK4XQM
Proposed changes to the Constitution of the Wireless Institute Of Australia WIA
Always in the thick of it – Jim Linton VK3PC SK Roger Harrison VK2ZRH

TECHNICAL

Work the World with WSJT-X Part 1: Operating Capabilities Joe Taylor K1JT, Steve Franke K9AN and Bill Somerville G4WJS
Review of the Digitech AR1780 HF Portable Receiver Peter Parker VK3YE

Plus all the usual Club news and columns

50 years old and still circulating!

Peter Wolfenden VK3RV

The author reports on the recent launch of a book examining the Australis OSCAR 5 satellite – the first satellite built in Australia. Designed and built by amateurs, the satellite had many firsts.

The Challenges of Hamming Blind

Joseph Stephen VK5JKS

The author reports on some of the challenges faced by visually impaired individuals in entering our hobby and how many of those challenges may be overcome.

Work the World with WSJT-X Part 1: Operating Capabilities

Joe Taylor K1JT, Steve Franke K9AN and Bill Somerville G4WJS

The authors describe the operational capabilities the WSJT-X software suite, which includes several Machine Generated Modes. Each mode is designed for a different purpose, allowing for significantly improved communication capability using the mode over previous methods. The modes continue to be developed and are having significant impacts on the hobby.

Review of the Digitech AR1780 HF Portable Receiver

Peter Parker VK3YE

The author reviews a relatively cheap HF portable receiver recently made available via a noted local electronics retailer.

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