WIANEWS - May 27 - VK NATIONAL NEWS
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WIANEWS WEEK COMMENCING MAY 27 2012.
TRANSIT OF VENUS APPROACHES
EAST GIPPSLAND MAKER SPACE
Shortwave Gathering Identifies Broadcast Opportunities
THESE STORIES AND MORE IN THIS EDITION OF NEWS FROM THE WIRELESS INSTITUTE
OF AUSTRALIA FOR WEEK COMMENCING MAY 27 2012.
Hello, this is Grant, VK5GR for the Project Horus Balloon team, with some
news about today's amateur radio High altitude balloon flight being staged
as part of the Wireless Institute of Australia's AGM here in Mildura.
By the time you hear this, the balloon repeater, designated flight HORUS 26,
will be in the air (launch was planned for 8am AEST) and climbing on it's
way to more than 30km altitude and more than 100km north east of Mildura.
At apogee, the footprint is predicted to cover the cities of Adelaide,
Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra simultaneously. The radio horizon will extend
approximately 800km from the balloon, covering some 2,000,000 sqkm of
You can access the repeater on 438.9 MHz using a 123 Hz CTCSS tone. You will
be able to hear the downlink from the balloon on 147.500MHz. APRS is also
active under the callsign VK5ARG-11. There is also a 300 baud RTTY telemetry
beacon on 434.075MHz.
Now, in addition to the repeater balloon, the team is also intending this
morning to launch a second balloon (which may by now also be in the air - the
intended launch time was 9am AEST). This flight, designated HORUS 27, is
primarily carrying a camera payload, RTTY beacon and another APRS transmitter
this one designated VK5ARG-12. Predictions earlier in the week looked ideal
to attempt to fly this experimental camera payload, so we will see whether it
Our Project leader, Terry VK5VZI, and all of the Project Horus team hope to
hear as many amateurs as possible making use of the repeater during this
flight. The group also wishes to say thank you to the WIA for inviting us to
participate in this year's AGM.
You can also find out more about the project by looking at our website
73's from Grant VK5GR for Project Horus
WIA'S portable Dstar repeater is set up in Mildura for the full conference
weekend, listen out on the Dstar repeater frequency 438.150MHz
ABC WIRELESS INTERVIEWS VK3FI
This weekend with over 180 people making their way to the WIA Annual
Conference being held in sunny Mildura, club Secretary for the Sunraysia
Radio Group, Noel Ferguson VK3FI has been interviewed by local ABC radio
Breakfast Show Producer Deb Banks.
Listen in on the link on the story on WIA FRONT PAGE NEWS wia.org.au
The world's most successful solar cell breaks the 20% barrier
Aussie researchers team with Sun-tech Power to create Pluto Technology
World-class Australian solar research has produced new photovoltaic solar
cells that recently broke the 20% barrier for efficiency in capturing the
sun's energy, the highest ever efficiency for a low-cost commercial silicon
The solar cells reached a production capacity last year of 0.5 gigawatts,
worth more than US1billion a year. This is enough to power 300,000 average
homes that typically have eight solar panels on them for at least 25 years.
Pluto technology, as it is patented, was developed by Professors Martin Green
and Stuart Wenham at the ARC Photovoltaic Centre for Excellence in close
collaboration with the world's largest solar cell manufacturer,
The Pluto Technology won a 2012 Collaborative Innovation Award Wednesday
night at the Cooperative Research Centres Association conference in Adelaide.
Transit of Venus Special Event June 6, 2012
*** TAKE ALL IMPORTANT SAFETY PRECAUTIONS WHEN VIEWING THE SUN!!! ***
For the 7th time in human history and last time this century, Venus will pass
in front of the sun on June 6. WB4APR is encouraging radio hams to join up
with astronomers and observers in public places to share in this event
It is observable worldwide except the centre of the Atlantic (eastern
S.America and western Africa) Everywhere else can see parts of it.
It lasts 5+ hours and is fully visible around the Pacific Rim.
All previous centuries were before the discovery of radio and so sailing
ships were dispatched around the globe to time the event. From these times,
the size of the Solar System could be calculated. It took months if not years
to get the data back. Now we can do it in 0.05 seconds with Ham radio.
See if you can contact hams at other Transit of Venus sites from your public
observing site. Here are the suggested calling frequencies.
We don't want contest-style pileups nor home stations. We just want a place
where similar public setups can contact like-minded other public viewing
sites via ham radio and make their reports.
See the web page: http://aprs.org/VenusTransit2012.html
We are suggesting these calling frequencies:
40 Meters - 7180 KHz
20 Meters - 14240 KHz
17 Meters - 18140 KHz
15 Meters - 21240 KHz
12 Meters - 24940 KHz
10 Meters - 28340 KHz
VHF - APRS on the local national calling channel.
Send APRS messages as noted on the web page.
*** TAKE ALL IMPORTANT SAFETY PRECAUTIONS WHEN VIEWING THE SUN!!! ***
Bob Bruninga, WB4APR (will be observing in Japan with a Japanese (TBD)
APRS Venus Transit 2012
President Michael Owen VK3KI firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice President Phil Wait VK2ASD email@example.com
Secretary Sarah Thompson VK3AUD firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasurer John Longayroux VK3PZ email@example.com
Don't we have an extraordinarily diverse hobby in Amateur Radio?
When you sit back and think about it there is some facet of the hobby that
can appeal to everyone and one or more of those facets are maybe what
attracted you and others to the hobby in the first place. Electronics, radio
and the associated knowledge continues to expand exponentially which makes it
hard to keep up with advances and can eat up a lot of our time; which others
close to us may think we could spend on more 'worthwhile' activities.
While the personal interest and search for knowledge is important for our own
development we can end up isolated, like a shag on a rock, if we forget to
support our hobby of Amateur Radio. So, what is support?
It surely means different things to different people but I suggest simply
paying your club dues and WIA membership (and thank you to those who do) is
only addressing one or two support needs.
Turning up to regular club meetings to rag chew while enjoying tea, coffee
and biscuits is a form of support but unless we get involved in the Amateur
Radio doings of our clubs or groups, in whatever way we can contribute, can
we really claim to be supporting our club or group and hence Amateur Radio?
Similarly, one tier up, do clubs within regions co-operate by sharing skills
and resources to support our hobby? Really, there is no place for an 'us and
them' mentality within our hobby of Amateur Radio and it does no harm to
promote the activities of other clubs physically or by joining in their
on-air activities. It can be very disheartening when a club develops and
promotes an activity or on-air event or contest only to have a modicum of
interest. How many of us have been in this situation and felt rather
'cheesed off' to put it politely? Too many, I suggest, if I was able to count
the nodded heads and raised hands of those listening.
So, what can we do about these unhelpful issues of dynamic apathy apparent in
support of our hobby? It is simple really; get off our tails, get in and do,
get in and support club, state and national events and celebrations. No
matter how small our individual contributions may seem to us the sum of them
all contributes to success and support of our great hobby.
Consider yourself to be another brick in the wall supporting Amateur Radio
on all levels.
This has been Ewan VK4ERM for the WIA Board asking 'How do you support our
John VK3KM has advised free scripts to load the WIA repeater list into your
VHF/UHF radio are available
Steve Ireland VK2MD has written four useful utilities in VB Script that will
load and manipulate the WIA Repeater data file.
The first script simply prints the repeater list to a console window and is
meant as a training exercise.
The next one verifies the WIA repeater data file for any consistency.
A third script converts the binary file into a format that can be imported
directly into the ICOM ID880 using the free ICOM CS-80/880 Software.
The last one converts the binary file into a format that can be imported
directly into the many radios that are supported by Chirp.
A "Read Me" file is included with the downloadable zip file that describes in
detail how to run the scripts, and the scripts themselves are fully commented
for those who want to write their own utilities. Also included within the zip
file are sample output files that are pre-cooked and ready to use.
The scripts will run on most Microsoft Windows operating systems (XP onwards)
and can be downloaded from the Repeater Update page on the WIA web site.
For the information of Foundation Licence trainers and WIA members, Ron
Bertrand VK2DQ has developed an on line video training program covering the
Foundation course material.
The course is free and available at Radio & Electronics School web site
(Fred Swainston VK3DAC)
HAMS ACROSS AUSTRALIA.
web service:- http://www.amateurradio.com.au/news/
Police Roundup http://www.vicpolicenews.com.au/
East Gippsland Maker Space in Bairnsdale, Victoria is now open and the
possibilities are exciting. New members very welcome. Ian vk3TCX says they
have an entire wing of the old Bairnsdale hospital with space allocated for
many diverse interests including Radio Shack, lab with power, broadband
internet and heaps of space for antennas.
"Last week's news spoke of the first Maker Fair held in China, well Bairnsdale
in Eastern Victoria may have taken its first steps in this direction with
the formation of its own Makerspace, a community based workshop whose aim is
to provide cheap access to tools, training and resources to enable it's
members to learn practical skills and explore art, technology and creativity
by sharing the expertise of other community members.
We have leased a wing of an old disused hospital in Bairnsdale, and already
it is being divided up into workshops for, among other things computing,
photography, machine shops, electronics, robotics and of course amateur
radio. Several local amateurs have already become members, we have dedicated
room space for a radio shack/lab, access to tools, machinery, broadband
internet and the space and facilities to construct and experiment, and
hopefully expose more of the community to amateur radio and the fun of
We are self-funding, non-profit and are gratefully accept support both
materially and from anyone with expertise to share.
Please have a look at what we hope to achieve by going to
I'm Ian, vk3tcx for the East Gippsland Makerspace"
Check them out at egmakerspace.org for a video walkthrough
The annual Winter expedition into the snowy wilderness of the Bogong High
Plains is coming up again and is led by Stephen, VK3SN and Gerard, VK3GT.
A team of keen skiers' will head away from civilisation on Monday 6th of
August for four days to snow camp on the roof of Victoria. Staying around
1800 metres above sea level, the group will spend each day exploring the
icy beauty of this amazing region within the Australian Alps.
When setting up camp each afternoon they will deploy solar powered portable
QRP gear to call CQ on 40 and 80 metres into the evening. They will also be
on 2m and 70 cm FM simplex and various repeaters to liaise across the high
country of North-East of Victoria, and local amateurs are invited to say
hello on these frequencies.
Listen out for the guys as they work their way across some of Victoria's most
spectacular mountain ranges- here's hoping for decent snow!'
It is almost that time again: GippsTech 2012 will be happening on the
weekend of the 7th and 8th of July, at Monash University Gippsland Campus in
Churchill, Victoria, about 170 km east of Melbourne.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS With thanks to IARU, RSGB, SARL, Southgate AR Club, ARRL,
Amateur Radio Newsline, NZART, AR Victoria and the WW sources of the WIA.
Yaesu FT1D Digital Handheld
One of the most eagerly awaited products at Dayton Hamvention last weekend
was the new Yaesu FT1D digital and FM handheld.
It has, for an Amateur Radio rig, a number of innovations:
A microphone that uses a mini-USB plug and built-in camera
An 80 character group short messaging facility
9600 bps data transfer
Micro-SD card slot
Kiosk mobile data extraction to be used by London Police
The Metropolitan Police, the police force responsible for Greater London, has
announced that it will begin using a mobile device data extraction system
that will give its officers the ability to extract data from a mobile device
in a matter of minutes. The said system will use Radio Tactics' ACESO Kiosk,
a touchscreen device that will be deployed in the city.
According to Radio Tactics, the ACESO Kiosk has the capability to extract
data including call history, photos, videos, and email and social networking
info from a phone at an average time of 20 minutes.
Essentially, the device features an intuitive, fully-guided touchscreen
desktop data acquisition tool. Radio Tactics promises the device to pull data
from the any mobile phone as well as from any memory or SIM card it carries.
The company claims that it also works with USB flash drives and portable GPS
units too. The system will be used on phones that are suspected of having
been used in criminal activities.
According to Computerworld UK, more than 300 Police employees will be trained
to use the device.
(Sourced from the UberGizmo E-Zine via vk7wi)
Milestone for Wi-Fi with 'T-rays'
BBC News report that researchers in Japan have smashed the record for
wireless data transmission in the terahertz band, a mainly uncharted part of
the electro-magnetic spectrum.
The data rate is 20 times higher than the best commonly used Wi-Fi standard.
As consumers become ever more hungry for high data rates, standard
lower-frequency bands have become crowded.
The research, published in Electronics Letters, adds to the idea that this
"T-ray" band could offer huge swathes of bandwidth for data transmission.
The band lies between the microwave and far-infrared regions of the spectrum,
and is currently completely unregulated by telecommunications agencies.
Despite the name, the band informally makes use of frequencies from about
300 gigahertz (300GHz or about 60 times higher than the current highest
Wi-Fi standard) to about 3THz, 10 times higher again.
NEWS FROM ARNEWSLINE USA
FM INTERFERENCE TO SSB/CW SATELLITES INCREASING
Interference by terrestrial FM operators to ham radio
satellites is a growing problem. This according to
Alexandru Csete, OZ9AEC who made this recording of FM
interference to the FO-9 ham radio bird on Saturday, May
5th. A QSO that seemed to revolve around chocolate:
Actual interference QSO recorded off FO-29
OZ9AEC says that to an FM operator, the spectrum from 145.8
to 146.0 MHz may seem empty, but it isn't. These
frequencies are used by weak signal SSB and CW satellite
transponders and even a few watts of FM can cause severe interference.
Some FM operators are unaware that if they use these
frequencies their local chat across town will be heard
thousands of miles away. Nor do they realize that in
holding their point to point terrestrial FM chats in this
spectrum that they block the satellite from others to use.
The use of FM on an SSB/CW linear transponder satellite also
reduces the lifetime of both the satellite's batteries and
the transponder itself.
SPECIAL EVENTS AND ON AIR CONTEST COLUMN - D A T E L I N E 2012
VK Shires Contest June 9-10
VK Winter VHF-UHF Field Day June 23-24
ZL NZART Memorial Contest July First full weekend
VK/ZL Trans Tasman Contest 80+160metres July 21
VK Remembrance Day Contest August 11-12
WW International Lighthouse Lightship Wknd August 18-19
VK Spring VHF / UHF Field Day November 24-25
south African YOUTH DAY SPRINT
The annual Youth Day Sprint will be held on Saturday 16 June from
10:00 - 12:00 CAT. There are many prizes to be won in this 2 hour 40 metre
Radio Amateurs are encouraged to invite young persons to enjoy the event from
their station and top give youngsters a hands-on experience of amateur radio.
The youth day Sprint is part of the 2012 National Amateur Radio Day.
SPECIAL EVENT STATIONS, DX and BEACON AND NET ADVICE
YET ANOTHER DXPEDTION CANCELLED
Rick, K6VVA, has announced that his IOTA DXpedition (NA-175, NA-050 and
NA-004) has now been rescheduled for hopefully better propagation during
Also, check TWITTER at: http://www.twitter.com/k6vva
Special Canadian amateur radio call sign
VC 2 CBS 30 is the unusual callsign in use by the Sorel-Tracy Amateur Radio
Club in Quebec, Canada until 30 May. This is in celebration of the 30th
anniversary of their Hamfest, which took place last Sunday, 20th May.
A special QSL card is available from the club.
Look for the 30th anniversay callsign VC 2 CBS 30
Visit their Hamfest website:
GB60VUL - The Vulcan Diamond Jubilee
GB60VUL is on the air until Today May 27 to promote 60 years of the Vulcan
Bomber, and the Vulcan's 'Salute to Her Majesty' during her Diamond Jubilee
XH558 is the last flying Vulcan bomber.
Newbury And District Amateur Radio Society (NADARS)
A multi-national group are operating from the Kingdom of Bhutan until 6 June.
The callsign is A5A.
Active on all bands 80-10m and are taking part in the WPX CW Contest during
this weekend, 26/27 May.
BROADCAST MONITORING SWL AND SCANNER NEWS
Shortwave Gathering Identifies Broadcast Opportunities
A large portion of presentations at the National Association of Shortwave
Broadcasters meeting, held in Washington in May cantered on the idea
how shortwave radio dismissed by some as in its last throes, a relic of
the Cold War era disappearing under the shadow of digital can find a place
in the 21st century.
As many of the conference's speakers argued, that answer may reside in areas
with little electricity, where shortwave is seen as an effective means of
relaying information to countries with repressive regimes. Presenting the
results of a study on which audiences were tuning into shortwave across the
globe, Dr. Kim Andrew Elliott, an audience research specialist at IBB,
pointed out that in countries like Nigeria and Zimbabwe, people tended to
own more radios than televisions.
In impoverished, politically tumultuous Zimbabwe, in fact, 32% of those who
were surveyed, in a face-to-face, door-to-door method, own shortwave radios,
according to Elliott.
Because shortwave radio is harder to interrupt than, for instance,
the Internet, Radio Free Asia, the conference host, broadcasts to the highly
censored areas like North Korea
VK Club Bulletins http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aarnie/
YOU CAN'T WATCH MEDIA WITHOUT A GOOD REMOTE!
Inventor of the remote control dies
Eugene Polley, who invented the TV remote, died Sunday at age 96.
In 1955, he created what would become the couch potatoes dream:
the TV remote control.
Eugene's "Flash-Matic" remote control, offered the world the first cordless
Flash-Matic operated with four photo cells, one in each corner of the screen.
The viewer used a highly directional flashlight to activate the four control
functions, which turned the picture and sound on and off and changed channels
by turning the tuner dial clockwise and counter-clockwise.
(North-western University's Medill school)
This WIA year we have our highest ever checkins, 123,691 and some
41,000+ of those are RF checkins.
VK1 = 994
VK8 = 1627
VK3 = 2101
VK7 = 5573
VK5 = 5706
VK2 = 7155
VK4 = 7768
VK6 = 8288
highest for a single station is 3,594 for the Perth VK6RAP repeater, morning
and night combined followed by the single transmission of VK5RAD with a
massive 3,117 for their Sunday Morning broadcast
WW SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS --- FINAL FRONTIER
How a Tiny Satellite Could Find Another Earth
Time Magazine carried a report on the work of radio amateur Sara Seager
KB1WTW who is developing a CubeSat called ExoplanetSat, that will search
for new planets.
Time reports that unlike the massive and expensive Kepler probe used by NASA
the ExoplanetSat is a tiny satellite, just 10x10x30cm.
"What makes ExoplanetSat even more un-NASA-like is that it began as a
class project although admittedly, the class was at MIT. It was a
design-and-build course, which the university's engineering students
have to take in order to graduate. In a recent semester, the class was
co-taught by Sara Seager [KB1WTW] an astrophysicist who has done
ground-breaking research studying how the atmospheres of planets orbiting
distant stars might look like from earthly telescopes. Seager recruited
five science undergrads to join her engineers, on the theory that out in
the real world, they'd eventually have to work with engineers anyway."
The group lead by Sara KB1WTW is developing the prototype ExoplanetSat
capable of monitoring a single, bright, sun-like star for two years.
Planned to launch late 2012 or 2013 it is hoped it will open the gates for
ExoplanetSat interest and funding. Once the funding doors are opened, then
the fleet of ExoplanetSats can be launched. The fleet may contain as many as
a hundred of these small satellites, each focused on its own star.
Read the Times Magazine article at
Listen to HORYU-2 on the Web
Andrei YO8SSQ and Cezar YO8TLC have made available a web based receiver to
enable listeners to hear the new amateur radio satellite HORYU-2 when it's
within range of Romania.
The WebSDR receiver is located at the Astronomical Observatory Department of
"Stefan cel Mare" University in Romania.
Latitude 47.6417N Longitude 26.2453E, grid locator KN37cp, height ASL is 350m.
WW SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS --- IOTA
IOTA 800 Islands Award
a notable first VK award goes to a local VK7 amateur!
Frank VK7BC has just received the "IOTA 800 islands award" from the Radio
Society of Great Britain.
Frank's is the first to be claimed by a VK station and one of only two going
to Oceania, the other being a station on Hawaii AH6HY.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Frank was also issued with the "W.A.D.A" or
Worked All Antarctic Directory Award for achieving the notable milestone of
having worked for 28 Antarctic bases.
This award is only the second to be awarded to a VK station, the first being
to Mal VK6LC a few years ago.
Well done on two very notable achievements Frank!
For the rest of us, it just goes to show that CW can indeed be useful from
time to time, so maybe we should all dig out our keys and get in some
WW SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS --- RESCUE RADIO
IARU REGION 3
Emergency Centre of Activity (CoA) frequencies
3.600, 7.110, 14.300, 18.160 and 21.360 MHz
Italian radio amateurs help out after quake
An earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale shook Italy's industrial and
densely populated northeast Sunday last, killing at least 6 people, felling
homes and factories and bringing down historic church steeples.
Occurring in the middle of night it saw emergency services swing into action
with many injured across the Emilia Romagna region.
It has been called the region's worst quake since the 1300s, striking at
4.04 am local time with its epicentre about 35 kms north of Bologna at a
relatively shallow depth of 5kms.
The IARU Region 1 reports that Italian radio amateurs responded.
A number of strong aftershocks continue to affect the area.
The voluntary group RNRE reports that communications in the area are
currently good but the RNRE has been requested to make one or two mobile
units available to respond, if needed, due to the continuing seismic activity.
No HF frequencies are in use at this time.
(Jim Linton VK3PC. Chairman IARU Region 3. Disaster Communications Committee,
acknowledging the input and Greg Mossop G0DUB IARU Region 1 Emergency
Sunday High Performance Radio
As the wia news goes to air this morning some Townsville Club radio operators
are out on the Mount Stuart Road providing Time Control Communications
Support plus some circuit marshal, time keeping and safety communications
support for the second round of the King of the Hill Auto sports Hill climb.
The operators have been on site since 7-30am and competition started from 9am.
Communications has primarily been on VHF for Time Control and UHF CB for
marshal liaison and safety. That free "auto sports burger" is looking really
good at lunchtime and the operators should complete operations by 4pm this
afternoon, Sunday 27 May.
SOCIAL SCENE 2012
MAY 25-27 VK3 WIA Annual Conference Mildura on this weekend.
MAY 26 VK3 MDRC Hamfest Southern Community Centre, Mulgrave 10am
MAY 26 VK4 BARCFEST (a HamFest) Mt Gravatt Showgrounds 9am.
JUN 8-11 VK4 cancelled ! FNNQARG! QLD Cassowary Coast CANCELLED!!!!!!!!!
JUN 9-10 VK2 Oxley Region Amateur Radio Club field day Port Macquarie.
JUN 9-10 VK5 South East Radio Group Convention, Mt Gambier.
JUL 7- 8 VK3 GippsTech 2012, Monash University Gippsland Campus Churchill.
JULY 14 VK4 Wide Bay Hamfest. West Maryborough Scout Hall
JULY 21 VK3 Gippsland Gate Radio & Electronics Club Hamfest @ Cranbourne
JULY 21 VK4 WIA VK4 CLUB PRESIDENTS LUNCH Hervey Bay AR Club
JULY 29 VK2/3 Albury Wodonga ARC HamFest @ Lavington Scout Hall
NOV 4 VK5 Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society HAMFEST @ Goodwood
NOV 11 VK3 Yarra Valley Amateur Radio Group Hamfest
NOV 25 VK3 SPARC HAMFEST AT ROSEBUD
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