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2018 Magazines

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Amateur Radio
September - October 2018

Delivery Expected from 13 September 2018


      WIA Member Digital Edition Download


Editorial

Spring is almost here

This winter seems to have been cold and windy in Gippsland. Of course, the wind makes the apparent temperature lower, so our perception is that it is colder. Rainfall in the local area is low compared to average figure, with the year to date total only about two thirds of the long term average. Several regions around the country are experiencing the driest conditions on record and are already drought declared.

Yet our snow fields in Victoria have received significant snow falls, the best in 14 years, as a result of the pattern of cold fronts which have delivered the precipitation events.

As we move into spring, most welcome the warmer weather and longer days. Beware the strong wind events that often occur during the season.

Spring also sees several high profile radio contests and the annual Jamboree on the Air (JOTA). JOTA always occurs on the third full weekend in October. So expect to hear lots of young voices on the airwaves during the weekend. I would expect that most Clubs and individuals would have at least preliminary arrangements in place if they are hosting Scouts or Guides. There are constraints as to who can participate directly with the Scouts and Guides, but almost anyone can participate by talking over the radio. Perhaps you might be able chat to a youngster on air over the weekend?

I have seen at least one report that suggests that the Sun may have commenced its next solar cycle. If that is the case, we should start to see a slow increase in solar radiation and sunspot numbers and therefore some better ionospheric propagation. Unfortunately, we will only be sure that we have passed the solar minimum several months after it has occurred.

Disputes, grievances and complaints

I am occasionally copied in on emails from individual WIA members corresponding with the WIA Board. The matters at hand would formally be classified as being in the broad category of “Disputes, grievances or complaints”.

Readers should note that official Complaint Forms can be found on the WIA website, under the menu item “WIA Information” and select the “Information About The WIA” option. There are two forms, one for General Complaints and one related to “Business” activities. The forms detail how the completed form should be lodged.

The July Board Minutes – Agenda Item 35 on page 23 – deals with this matter. The Minutes note that all complaints are to be submitted in the approved format. The Minutes note that the Board shall periodically publish a summary of all complaints that have been considered and closed. The Minutes make reference to a Complaints Officer. The form outlines the timelines for responses and appeals, including reference to the WIA Privacy Policy.

Some of the material I have received clearly does not comply with the required processes, first and foremost because the complaint has not been submitted on the official form. Perhaps one fault of the official form is that it requires submission via the postal system or using facsimile. Perhaps in this era, allowance should be made for submission of the completed form and any supporting material via email and attachment/s?

In my view, some of the disputes might be considered to differences of opinion regarding the interpretation of “facts”.

Regardless of the substance of the grievance, if the issue is raised by the submission of a completed Complaint Form, then the WIA is duty bound to respond officially. One would trust that the Complaints Officer would investigate the substance of the issue/s and that the Board should seek to come to a reasoned logical outcome.

It would not be appropriate for me to even mention the substance of any dispute of which I am made aware.

Until next issue,

Cheers,

Peter VK3PF
This month’s cover
Our cover this month features the Icom IC-7610 transceiver. Read the user review on page 11. Base image supplied by Icom Australia.

WIA President's Comment

Representation, Education and Promotion – what has your WIA been doing in these areas?

Representation

The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) is the only amateur radio body recognised by the International Telecommunications Union at World Radio Conferences and the next is to be held in 2019. The IARU is split into three regions and VK is in Region 3 (Oceania). The VK IARU Region 3 Director is currently Peter Young VK3MV. Peter is up for re-election and the WIA Board has endorsed his nomination for one more term. The 17th IARU Region 3 Conference is being held in Seoul, Korea during the week commencing Monday 10 September 2018 to Friday 14 September 2018. The Conference is being hosted by the Korean Amateur Radio League. The WIA Board has nominated Greg VK2GPK as delegate and Dale VK1DSH as observer to attend this Conference. This clearly demonstrates the WIA’s commitment to supporting and representing amateur radio internationally.

At the end of July the WIA made a submission to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) on our recommendations for changes to the Amateur Licence Conditions Determination. This submission was the result of over five years of consultation with the amateur community, two previous submissions and four surveys to create the final five part submission. This is a major body of work and I would like to thank the Spectrum Strategy Committee for the huge amounts of time and effort put into this over many years.

The WIA Board has identified an issue with repeater and beacon assignment and is working toward creating a team of accredited frequency assigners. This is due to delays with the ACMA processing frequency assignments. Many clubs are resorting to paying substantial amounts of money to alternate frequency assigners to do the assignment for them. The WIA is working on offering a frequency assignment service at a reduced rate for members, affiliated clubs and community groups. We have the insurance in place and are current looking for suitably qualified individuals. Interested? Then contact us via support@wia.org.au

Promotion

The WIA President and Vice-President attended the North East Radio Group AGM. This was done via video conference and the format was a thirty minute presentation then thirty minutes of questions and answers. This facility is available to all affiliated clubs. All you need is a good broadband internet connection with the ability to project onto a big screen and amplify audio from a PC. If interested then email support@wia.org.au

We all know and love the Amateur Data Interchange Format (ADIF) standard and those keen contesters in VK will also know that it does not include some of the popular WIA VK Contests. Nev Thomas VK5XD has suggested that we adopt proposed changes to the ADIF 3 specification. The WIA has agreed to sponsor the changes to include the John Moyle Field Day and the Remembrance Day contests. Nev will be putting that proposal together with WIA sponsorship. A huge thank you to Nev for progressing this improvement.

The think-tank of the WIA – the Strategy Advisory Committee – has some new members following nominations being received. We welcome Phil VK4PG, Grant VK5GR, Peter VK4EA, Ewan VK4ERM, David VK4MZ and Aidan VK4APM as the Board representative. This committee is working on a number of white papers that will be submitted to the WIA Board prior to going out for amateur community consultation and input. One of the priority areas is membership engagement. The WIA Board recently confirmed student membership eligibility with the following students being able to access reduced membership fees:

  Full Time and Part Time Vocational Education Training Students
  Full Time and Part Time University Students
  High School and Primary School Students
  Commonwealth NEIS scheme participants

The History and Archive Committee put together a comprehensive business case to the WIA Board to update their outdated IT equipment. This update included a contemporary scanning solution. This business case has been approved by the WIA Board and the equipment is being purchased and setup. One of the key areas of the Business Case was the production and publishing of historical material and making this material available via the Internet.

Education

In June the ACMA released the consultation paper: New approaches to amateur radio qualification arrangements. Amateur Radio learning and assessment is currently provided on behalf of the WIA and the ACMA through a Deed of Agreement between the ACMA and WIA. This agreement has been in place for 10 years and terminates in February 2019.

This current service is delivered throughout Australia through a geographically diverse network of clubs with almost 300 assessors and learning facilitators undertaking over 1300 assessments per year on a volunteer cost recovery basis.

Despite the short consultation period the WIA received a total of 17 direct submissions from members of the WIA and others within the amateur community expressing deep concern for the approaches suggested in the ACMA consultation paper. These concerns and suggestions were included in the WIA submission.

Key themes that resonate through all submissions received by the WIA is that our members and the broader amateur community strongly oppose any change to the amateur radio qualification framework that:

  results in a reduction in the social and community outcomes that amateur radio provides to approximately 14,000 Australian amateur operators, their clubs and the communities in which they operate; or
  exposes the hobby to further existential (high cost for low numbers) risk; or
  Imposes additional barriers to entry for new operators or the barriers to advancement for existing operators

The ACMA received 45 submissions and has settled on Approach One – “an approved body to provide training, conduct examinations and issue certificates of proficiency through delegation under the Act”. Approach One also outlines that the organisation is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). As part of the tender, the Commonwealth expects to express a preference that the successful tenderer is either an RTO, has the capacity to become an RTO before the contract commencement date, or is partnered or affiliated with an RTO.

The ACMA is preparing to release a Request for Tender document in late August – early September for the replacement service. The WIA is currently preparing for the release and response to the Tender.

I finish this Board comment with a huge thank you to Brian Clarke VK2GCE. The WIA Board accepted with regret Brian’s resignation at our July Board meeting.

On behalf of the WIA Board,

Justin VK7TW.

Table Of Contents

GENERAL

Historic QSL card history Fred Swainston VK3DAC/VK4FE
There’s always something to learn in ham radio! Graeme Scott VK2KE
A primer for newly licensed F calls Roger Crofts VK4YB
Gordon McDonald VK2ZAB, VK3EJ – silent voice, not silent key Chris Davis VK1DO/VK2DO & Roger Harrison VK2ZRH
Ham Radio Friedrichshafen 2018 Michael Rademacher DG8YP
Remembrance Day Contest 2018 Alan Shannon VK4SN

TECHNICAL

Make a SSB transceiver with the Choc Perf Board Adam Rong BD6CR
Icom IC-7610 review Lee Moyle VK3GK
Adendum to the SharkRF OpenSPOT Review Peter Jung VK5JP & Ben Broadbent VK5BB
Tech Hints: Time Synchronisation via GPS made simple Steve Ireland VK3VM/VK3SIR & Roger Stafford VK3FZ

Plus all the usual Club news and columns

A primer for newly licensed F calls

Roger Crofts VK4YB

The author offers a series of hints for newly licensed Foundation licensees, focusing on how to make a contact in several different situations.

There’s always something to learn in ham radio!

Graeme Scott VK2KE

The author recounts his efforts to resolve an unusual issue with his station set up.

Icom IC-7610 review

Lee Moyle VK3GK

The author presents a review of the Icom IC-7610 transceiver from a user perspective.

Tech Hints: Time Synchronisation via GPS made simple

Steve Ireland VK3VM/VK3SIR & Roger Stafford VK3FZ

The authors describe the components and software required to synchronise your computer clock with an accurate time signal – in this case by using a GPS receiver. They then describe how to configure the software. Very useful reading, especially for those new to using the WSJT software suite with its modes which rely on close timing tolerances.

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 OBC Icom
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 IFC Yaesu

 


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