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November - December 2018
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The Amateur Code?
Most amateur radio operators are aware of the Amateur Code and/or the related DX Code of Conduct. If you are not familiar with the Code, then you should search out a copy!
Yet I frequently observe actions on-air which are in breach of the Code; if not the letter, definitely the spirit. After all, it is the spirit of the Amateur Code which is the key and should be lore with all operators.
So what prompted me to start writing these comments? I had been considering making comment a couple of weeks ago, but I shall endeavour to remember to recount those instances a little further down….
I had been monitoring the nominated frequency for a DXpedition station on a rare island location – Ducie Island. I was monitoring on FT8 mode. The frequency was away from the usual FT8 focus frequency, so any operator would understand that the focus on the frequency was to work the DXpedition. Yet when I stopped calling the DXpedition station as their signal had dropped down in strength and I was no longer hearing them, all of a sudden a US station was calling me! I ignored the station for several minutes and then looked up the callsign on QRZ.com. I sent him an email advising that I would not work him on the DXpedition’s frequency. I remained in listening mode for several minutes, but the US station persisted in calling me during the period when I would normally be calling the DXpedition….. Needless to say, I was bemused!
After several minutes of monitoring, the DXpedition came up in strength and I started calling again. They dropped down again and I stopped transmitting. You guessed it – the US station was still calling me. The next thing I see in the next transmit period for the DXpedition is a red stripe on the screen (meaning they were sending me a report) and soon a contact with VP6D was in the log, confirmed soon after via the DXA web site. Success for me, but the US station certainly would have added to the confusion!
Another common situation is operators tuning up or calling on the DXpedition transmit frequency, when the DX station is clearly indicating that they are listening up. Such behaviour is totally unproductive; as the DX will not be listening on their transmit frequency!
I have been listening to portable stations and have heard operators just come up and start calling, or a Net controller coming up on a frequency and starting to call, with no apparent effort to listen on the frequency before calling: no asking if the frequency was in use, and no response to stations advising that a QRP field station was using the frequency – just jump on the usual frequency and start calling in operators for the net as if the frequency was “theirs” at that time without consideration for other operators…..
Such behaviours only ferment frustration and contempt for the inconsiderate operators. It lessens their on-air reputation and causes frustration for the QRP portable station. The latter will need to find a new clear frequency and then be found by the chasers.
The next season for amateur gatherings begins
As I write these notes, a new season of amateur gatherings are beginning – hamfest / hamvention / radiofest / Buy and Sell, whatever they are called. These days, I see such events as primarily a chance to interact and catch up with amateurs: old friends and new acquaintances.
I recently had the pleasure of travelling to Ballarat for the Ballarat Amateur Radio Group Hamvention. I travelled up on the Saturday and played a little radio with a SOTA activation inside a Park, joined by a local as part of the VKFF Team Championship. We operated in a rather low key fashion and after I had the Park qualified, we packed up and moved to another Park to move away from the QRM on the SOTA summit. We then returned to the local’s home before heading into the nearby town for a delicious pizza dinner. On the Sunday, myself and Kaye VK3FKDW manned a table for the WIA at the Hamvention, selling the new 2019 Callbook and some other WIA merchandise. But the key to the day was the many personal interactions. The drive home for me was around three hours, so I was rather glad when I could sit and relax once home.
The weekend reflected a key aspect of the hobby: communication, be it via the radio or face to face.
Until next month,
Our cover this month shows David VK3IL operating QRP portable on a SOTA summit on his way to becoming Mountain Goat: achieving an Activator score of at least 1000 points. David achieved the milestone with an impressive average score per activation. Read about David’s SOTA journey in this month’s SOTA and Parks column on page XX. Photo supplied by David Giddy VK3IL.
WIA President's Comment
Representation, Education and Promotion – what has your WIA been doing in these areas?
Justin Giles-Clark VK7TW
In preparation for the 2019 WIA AGM I encourage everyone to consider how they can contribute to their national representative body – the WIA. There are a couple of items in this edition of AR magazine that you could consider. There is a nomination form for becoming a WIA director. There is also an advertisement for new members for a number of WIA committees across a broad range of areas. The WIA is only as strong as those who contribute to its running so, if you believe you have something to contribute then I encourage you to nominate and apply.
What has the Board been up to in the last two months?
The 17th International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 3 Conference was held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, in mid-September. Greg Kelly VK2ZPK and Dale Hughes VK1DSH attended on behalf of the WIA and Peter Young VK3MV attended as an IARU Region 3 Director. The conference was hosted by the Korean Amateur Radio League (KARL). There were 13 amateur radio societies attending the conference (ARRL/ BDARA/ CRAC/ CTARL/ HARTS/ JARL/ KARL/ MARTS/ NZART/ ORARI/ RAST/ SARTS/ WIA) and three groups by proxy (PARA/ RSSL/ RSGB). The conference was also attended by Timothy Ellam VE6SH, President of the IARU, Vice President Ole Garpestad LA2RR and Secretary Dave Sumner K1ZZ, from Region 1 President Don Beattie G3BJ and Secretary Hans Blondeel Timmerman PB2T, Region 2 President Reinaldo Leandro YV5AM and Vice President Ramon Santoyo XE1KK.
To get through the large and complex meeting agenda items, there were three working groups formed. One to cover policy matters including education, training, development of amateur radio and international and regional conferences involving radio administrations, with special concentration on IARU Branding and the threat to amateur radio spectrum from the Wireless Power Transfer (WPT). The second working group covered operational and technical matters, including emergency communications, digital modes, APRS common frequencies with special attention on proposed interim band plans. The third group was the Finance committee.
There were a total of 42 papers that were discussed by the working groups and recommendations brought back to the conference plenary sessions. Elections were held for Region 3 Directors and the following amateurs were elected and we congratulate Peter Young VK3MV for being re-elected:
Mohd Aris Bin Bernawi 9M2IR
Jakkree Hantongkom HS1FVL
Ken Yamamoto JA1CJP
Peter Young VK3MV
Wisnu Widjaja YB0AZ
Don Wallace ZL2TLL
Wisnu Widjaja YB0AZ was elected Chairman and Shizuo Endo JE1MUI was appointed Secretary. The 18th Regional Conference of IARU Region 3 will be held in Bangkok, Thailand and will be held in September/October 2021.
The WIA is moving ahead with a team of Frequency Assigners and I thank all the people who have expressed interest in becoming a Frequency Assigner. We are currently working through ACMA requirements. The role of a Frequency Assigner is to assess frequency allocation applications for potential radio frequency issues for that site and to analyse, negotiate (if necessary), appove and enter the details into the ACMA Spectra System.
World Radio Conference 2019 planning is well underway with a number of preparatory meetings to both form the Australian Government and IARU views. Dale Hughes VK1DSH has been attending the Australian Government preparatory meetings and will be attending the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity meeting. Peter Young VK3MV has also been attending the IARU Administrative Council meetings in preparation for WRC-19.
Director Aidan Mountford VK4APM attended via video conference a meeting with the Gippsland Gate Radio and Electronics Association on behalf of the WIA and reports were that it was a productive and informative session. WIA Directors has been invited to present to a meeting of the Norfolk Amateur Radio Club in Norwich, Norfolk, United Kingdom. They are seeking to strengthen ties with VK.
On the weekend of 22 September 2018, the Ku-ring-gai Historical Society & Hornsby and Districts Amateur Radio Clubs celebrated the Centenary (1918 - 2018) of the first direct wireless message from United Kingdom to Australia. This was a fantastic and well attended event celebrating the heritage of radio within Australia and congratulations to both organisations for making the centenary a very memorable occasion for all who attended.
The centenary Armistice Commemoration stations have proven popular with callsigns VI#PEACE and VI#LWF (Lest We Forget) being rostered along with VK100PEACE used by the WIA to provide for the event’s on-air opening and closing addresses.
JOTA/JOTI in 2018 saw many Guides, Scouts and Venturers participate in activities. I listened across the airwaves over the JOTA weekend and heard many great conversations. I thank the many clubs, amateurs and non-amateurs who organise and take part over the JOTA weekend to demonstrate to Guides, Scouts and Venturers what radio is all about.
The Remembrance Day Contest has been run for 2018 and I congratulate VK7 on winning for the third time. This year was particularly relevant given the Centenary of ANZAC commemorations coming to a close and the Armistice centenary commemoration.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has released the Approach To Market package for the provision of Services related to amateur radio qualifications. This package outlines the future services that the ACMA require for the:
1. conducting examinations to assess amateur radio proficiency,
2. issuing amateur radio certificates of proficiency,
3. making recommendations to the Customer about the allocation of callsigns to amateur licensees,
4. participate in the Syllabus Review Panel, and
5. associated non-statutory administrative functions
At the time of writing the WIA team was working on a comprehensive response to the ACMA in relation to the above services.
It has been bought to the Board’s attention that Learning Facilitators are not given service recognition like Assessors. The Board sincerely apologises for this and this is in the process of being rectified. Learning Facilitators will receive the same recognition at each Annual General Meeting from now on.
Band planning is a topic that is dear to the hearts of most amateurs. The WIA has received a submission from Radio Amateurs Society of Australia in relation to accommodating and extending digital segments in the 160 and 40 m bands. Take a look at the Technical Advisory Committee section of this edition for details. Comments are welcomed.
I finish with a thank you to our WIA Complaints Officer, Phil Patterson who needs more time to complete his PhD in complex legal studies. Thanks to Phil, the Board has been able to put more structure and rigour around the complaints handling area.
On behalf of the WIA Board
Table Of Contents
A visit to DECCA Steve Page VK6HV & Jono Bucktrout VK6DF
Sydney Amateur Television goes 5.6 GHz John O’Shea VK2ATU
Etiquette and Calling CQ Ade Larsen VK4SOE
International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend 2018 at Grassy Hill Light AU0019 Mike Patterson VK4MIK
WIA QSL Bureau News John Seamons VK3JLS
WICEN Digital Training Mark Hudson VK3MDH
TAC Notes John Martin VK3KM
Review of the Peak Electronics Design LCR45 LCR and impedance meter Peter Parker VK3YE
Almost Ultimate HF/VHF/UHF Full Power Portable Anthony Smith VK4TC
First Australian HamTV Chain Event, 11 November 2017 Martin Diggens VK6MJ
Plus all the usual Club news and columns
Etiquette and Calling CQ
Ade Larsen VK4SOE
The author offers a series of hints for newly licensed licensees, focusing on the etiquette around calling CQ.
A visit to DECCA
Steve Page VK6HV & Jono Bucktrout VK6DF
The authors recount their visits to a number of closed navigational beacon transmitter site in remote West Australia.
Review of the Peak Electronics Design LCR45 LCR and impedance meter
Peter Parker VK3YE
The author presents a review of the Peak Electronics Design LCR45 LCR and impedance meter from a user perspective.
Almost Ultimate HF/VHF/UHF Full Power Portable
Anthony Smith VK4TC
The author describes the design and construction of a radio carrier system that fits into a rucksack. He provides useful insight that anyone considering truly portable operation should consider.
64 Amidon / TTS Systems
64 Cookson Controls
9 Future Systems
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