WIANEWS - MARCH 30 - VK NATIONAL NEWS
THE BEST NEWS YOU'LL GET ALL WEEK
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WIANEWS WEEK COMMENCING MAR 30 2014.
OUR 19TH YEAR OF NON STOP NEWS
WIA Director helps with Melbourne Grammar ARISS contact
WIA Awards Manager VK3SX
WIA Gets ready for the PR4AmateurRadio Expo
WIA Coordinator fo John Moyle Memorial Field Day Denis VK4AE
THESE STORIES AND MORE IN THIS EDITION OF NEWS FROM THE WIRELESS INSTITUTE
OF AUSTRALIA FOR WEEK COMMENCING MARCH 30 2014.
TRENDING ON VK1WIA TWITTER ACCOUNT
#ARISS MELBOURNE SCHOOL
Melbourne Grammar School in ARISS contact
An Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program contact
took place on Tuesday March the 25th, at the Melbourne Grammar School in
The Year 5's contacted Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA, commander on the International
Space Station, and received valuable insights into life in space.
The school's science curriculum is under the guidance of Amanda Masters,
who in her speech welcomed senior CSIRO staff, the Melbourne Planetarium
Director and 120 relatives.
Eagerly taking part were Tony Wise VK3TON and his son Alex VK3FALX, having
only been qualified for a few months via classes at the EMDRC.
Tony had T-Shirts for participating students emblazoned - "I talked to an
Astronaut on the International Space Station" - with the ARISS, WIA and
Expedition 39 logos.
They learnt what it felt like on the rocket from Earth, weightlessness,
relaxation time, experiments of the day, and, if you kicked a football
from the ISS would it reach the Moon.
Also involved were the EMDRC's Jack Bramham VK3WWW and Ralph Parkhurst VK3LL
making a video, with WIA Director Robert Broomhead VK3DN on the audio and
(Jim Linton VK3PC)
More than 250 radiocommunication leaders from the across the Asia-Pacific
region will be here in Brisbane from 9-13 June for the third Asia-Pacific
Telecommunity Preparatory Group summitfor the lead-up to the next
International Telecommunication Union World Radiocommunication Conference
World Radiocommunication Conferences are held every three to four years to
review and revise the ITU Radio Regulations. This treaty-level document
governs the use of radiofrequency spectrum across the globe, including by
means of geo-stationary and non-geostationary satellites.
The Asia-Pacific Preparatory Group summit for the WRC is the most significant
activity undertaken by the APT. The event has only been held in Australia
once beforein 1999.
Dale Hughes VK1DSH represents the WIA during discussions about ITU World Radio
communications Conference agenda items with the ACMA and he is also a member
of the Australian delegations that attend the ITU and regional group meetings.
Dale VK1DSH says that at this meeting there will be a number of amateurs who
are members of their national delegations covering amateur issue, delegates
from the IARU and other amateurs who are covering other non-amateur WRC issues
as part of national delegations or APT sector members.
The meeting is hosted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority
and supported by the Australian Government Department of Communications.
(sourced to ACMA and VK1DSH)
Wireless microphone users will have more flexibility and be able to use their
devices in more places under proposals being considered by the ACMA.
ACMA has published a consultation paper seeking comments on proposed
amendments to regulation affecting wireless microphone users. Interested
parties have until 27 April 2014 to submit their response to the proposed
From January One, 2015, wireless microphones need to be re-tuned or replaced.
If they can't be retuned, they can't be legally used after that date.
Fact sheets on the change are available from www.wirelessmicrophones.gov.au
(acma press release)
WIA BOARD TALK
President Phil Wait VK2ASD email@example.com
Vice President Chris Platt VK5CP firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary David Williams VK3RU email@example.com
Treasurer John Longayroux VK3PZ firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting ready for the PR4AmateurRadio Expo
There are about ten days to go before the start of Wireless Institute of
Australia's campaign to raise awareness of the diverse activities of modern
The clubs and organisations with a demonstration station in the
PR4AmateurRadio Expo will showcase our hobby as a recreational and
educational pursuit that is easily accessible to people of all ages and
The WIA Directors and all radio amateurs can give their support. Please
warmly engage those at a 'CQ Expo' demonstration station by getting on air.
The PR4AmateurRadio Expo on April the 11th, 12th and 13th is promoted in
the April edition of Amateur Radio magazine, with full details at the
'What's On' page of the wia.org.au website.
Hi I'm Bob VK3SX , Federal Awards Manager
In Feb 2013, due to my extreme frustration with the hand-draulic Excel
application forms for awards, Marc Hillman VK3OHM developed an Excel macro
which imported an ADIF log file. It also included checking of callsigns at
Clublog, and electronic validation of both eQSL and LOTW QSL. This was a
GIANT leap forward in terms of speed, accuracy, and reducing the workload
on submitters and award committee alike. As good as it was, there was still
a lot of back and forth with spread sheets, sheets getting lost, and not
everyone had Excel so they could not apply.
In mid-Dec 2013, Marc developed a fully online system and it was introduced.
This is so far proving to be a bigger leap forward than the previous one. I
suspect we have the fastest and most reliable awards system in the world. It
allows (requires) the submitter to fully validate all his QSO before
submitting for an award. The system also calculates which awards are
qualified for. When the committee receives an application it has already been
fully validated. There are no 'back and forth' on applications, and they
can't get lost. You also don't need Excel to use it.
It is intuitively obvious to use, but as a new user coming to it Marc and
myself are keen to get your feedback on how it works for you, to participate
you need to be a WIA member registered with memnet and have internet also
electronic logging to upload to the online Awards system.
Also welcome to our newest awards committee member Paul VK5PAS, who has
recently been appointed by the ARRL as VK's 2nd check point for their DXCC
programme, congratulations Paul.
73's de Bob VK3SX
What use is an F-call?
This week I learnt something that you can only learn by doing it. As you
know, I operate a mostly portable station, that is, hardly ever from home,
regularly via battery power and connected to a 12m squid pole - think
fishing rod on steroids - somewhere around the metro area.
My contacts are pretty regular. Generally one or more per session, mind you,
some sessions might go for several hours, but contacts and listening none the
I realised recently that I've been operating my own station much more than
other stations. My radio, rather than others; my antenna, rather than those
built or purchased by other amateurs.
I've come to realise that just like when you learn to drive a car, it pays
to drive in someone else's car once in a while.
So, last week I did exactly that. I did combinations of my radio and their
antenna as well as using their station as presented. Of course, I did turn
the power down to 5 Watts, no point in making a contact that doesn't count
towards my DXCC - hi hi.
I had lots of fun learning about other radios, but also learning and hearing
the difference between different antennas. Stations that I could hear on one
antenna, I could barely, or not at all on another. And typical for Amateur
Radio, that didn't always repeat. It's not a case that this antenna is better
than that one, just that this antenna fits the conditions better than that
one right now. And right now keeps changing.
So, if you get the opportunity to use another antenna or another station,
grab the opportunity with both hands. You'll learn lots and have a ball doing
I'm Onno VK6FLAB
INTERNATIONAL NEWS With thanks to IARU, RSGB, SARL, Southgate AR Club, ARRL,
Amateur Radio Newsline, NZART and the WW sources of the WIA.
A sign of the times - will it spread?
Jim VK3PC tells us that 3 Amateur Radio repeaters in Britain are being turned
off overnight, presumably to save expenditure on their power bills.
Many repeater groups elsewhere are faced with dramatically increasing costs
including site fees, licences, insurance, maintenance and power.
The Leicestershire Repeater Group has taken the bold step to limit the hours
of its repeaters - on 2-metres GB3CF, 70-centimetres GB3LE, 6-metres GB3UM,
and the ATV repeater GB3GV - to conserve club funds.
These are now switched off between 10pm and 5am local time, but the club
beacons will continue to operate 24 hours a day.
Is this an option open to others who have repeaters? In the case of the
Leicestershire Repeater Group, a dwindling membership which supports the
repeaters is blamed.
The same could be experienced by others, who may now consider rationalisation
or time-limiting repeaters to reduce the growing drain on their finances.
Bletchley Park: Colossus at 70
The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) at Bletchley Park has celebrated the
70th anniversary of the world's first electronic computer "Colossus."
Radio amateur Tony E. Sale, who passed away 2011, started the project to
rebuild Colossus in 1993 and it was completed in 2007.
In the early 1950's Tony was a research assistant at Marconi's laboratories
where he was an assistant to Peter Wright (author of Spycatcher) on research
into Doppler radar.
In 1944, Colossus Mk I made its first attack on a German Lorenz-enciphered
message at Bletchley Park, UK. In 2014, Colossus veterans, their relatives
and guests watched a re-enactment of the breaking of Lorenz from intercept
VK7 Local news has reported how that 70's 'toy' Rubik Cube, has been solved
in less than 4 seconds!
This is the machine you've been waiting for to tidy up all those partially
solved Rubik's cubes rattling around somewhere in your shack.
The Cubestormer 3 robot set a new world record at the Big Bang science fair
in Birmingham UK recently. It solved the cube in 3.253 s.
Cubestormer 3 is the result of some 18 months design work by co-inventors
David Gilday, a principle engineer, and Mike Dobson, a security systems
engineer. "With the robot performing physical operations quicker than the
human eye can see there's always an element of risk," said David,
"Our big challenge now is working out if it's possible to make it go even
The robot uses a Samsung Galaxy S4 Smartphone.
The phone camera analyses the cube, works out the sequence of moves then
controls four robotic hands to work their magic.
RSGB Annual Construction Competition
The annual RSGB Construction Competition encourages home construction,
experimentation, design and innovation. Any Member of the RSGB is eligible
Winners in each category will be awarded prizes and the Pat Hawker G3VA Trophy
will be awarded to the best overall entry.
Projects must have an amateur radio context.
Examples might include receivers, transmitters, transceivers, aerials,
instrumentation, test equipment, etc.
Projects must be home-constructed, tested, complete and working.
Entrants must demonstrate the functionality of their entry, by either
providing a short video showing it working, or by demonstrating it working
to the judges at the RSGB Convention.
UNDERWATER WI-FI MAY HELP PREDICT TSUNAMIS
Researchers are in the process of testing a new underwater
Wi-Fi - like network in an attempt to create what amounts to
a deep-sea internet. One that researchers claim could help
detect tsunamis and thereby offer a more reliable warning system.
Unlike traditional Wi-Fi which uses radio waves, the
submerged technology utilizes sound waves. This is because
radio is able to penetrate water to some degree, but with
severely limited range and stability. But the research team
from the University of Buffalo notes that sound waves
provide a better option as demonstrated by many aquatic
species such as whales and dolphins.
Wireless communication underwater has been possible for some
time, but the problem lies in getting separate systems used
by different organizations to communicate with each other.
The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration does use acoustic waves to send data from
tsunami sensors on the sea floor to buoys on the surface.
However due to infrastructure differences, this data cannot
be shared quickly with other information gathered by other
agencies such as the US Navy. For that reason the
University of Buffalo researchers are attempting to create a
shared standard to make interaction and data-sharing and
public warning more reliable.
CURIOSITY NOW HAS THE ABILITY TO TAKE SELFIES
NASA has installed an upgrade operating system on its
Curiosity Martian rover and in the process it has given the
far off explorer the ability to take selfies.
For those few of you who may not have ever heard the term,
selfie is slang for a picture that one takes of him or
herself and usually posts to some social media website. And
while the rover now has the ability to take selfies, NASA
explained the rationale behind this move is to permit it to
examine the effects of wear-and-tear on the rover's wheels
through photos radioed back to Earth.
Jim Erickson is with NASA's Jet Propulsion Centre in
Pasadena, California. He says that the reason for making
this self-photographic system available is to help to better
understand the impact that the Martian terrain type has on
the rovers wheels to help with planning future drive systems.
The upgrade is the third such for Curiosity, which NASA says
remains in working condition. Once the update is fully
tested NASA says it will order the rover to do a series of
test drives in smooth dirt to determine exactly how much
wear the wheels are experiencing.
VIRTUALLY TRAVEL TO SPACE FOR ONLY $70
Researchers from the Surrey Space Centre in England have launched
a unique campaign that will enable members of the public including
radio amateurs a chance to make a virtual trip into space for only
about $70 United States dollars. Amateur Radio Newsline's Heather Embee,
KB3TZD, has the details:
The Surrey Space Centre Virtual Ride to Space ride will use
cutting-edge virtual technology and a specially designed
spacecraft to deliver a three-dimensional, immersive
experience that will allow everyone to see what astronauts
experience on their way to space.
The experience will be created by capturing High Definition
video footage collected using a weather balloon which will
carry a cluster of twenty-four cameras to a height of about
65,000 feet. During ascent these cameras will capture
panoramic footage of the balloon's journey to space.
Following the flight and retrieval of the camera payload a
specialized software package will be used to stitch this
footage together to recreate a panoramic view of the space
trip. The subsequent space ride will then be viewed using a
state-of-the-art virtual reality head-mounted display. This
system is designed to deliver high definition three
dimensional virtual environments that can be explored by the
wearer, as if they are in space themselves.
Dr. Aaron Knoll is the lead researcher from the University
of Surrey. He indicates that the Surrey virtual Ride to
Space will give all aspiring astronauts the chance to be a
virtual passenger, riding the balloon into space at far less
cost than actually making such a trip for in any other way.
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Heather Embee, KB3TZD,
in Berwick, Pennsylvania.
The $50,000 project will be funded by public contributions
through the crowd-sourcing Kickstarter website. The project
team is also developing a smartphone application that will
allow users to experience the journey using the phones'
built-in gyroscope and accelerometer data, as well as a
computer program that will allow people to experience space
via their own PC's.
The fund raising campaign and view the demonstration video
on line at
OPERATIONAL NEWS - DATELINE 2014
WIA VK Harry Angel Memorial Sprint May 3
10-10 INTERNATIONAL SUMMER CONTEST Aug 2 - 3
WIA REMEMBRANCE DAY (THE RD) CONTEST Aug 16 - 17
Manly-Warringah Radio Society's Flagpole contest September.
Amateur Radios International Air-ambulance Week, 9 days from Sep 28.
This is Denis VK4AE, WIA Coordinator for the John Moyle Memorial Field Day
2014. So far the number of logs that have been submitted is more than for the
same period last year. This is a welcome change. However, you must remember,
that even though you have taken part in the contest and given out a few
numbers to help along a couple of stations, you really are obliged to
actually submit your log. It is only in this way that these contacts can be
The rule change that required every station who works the same station more
than 5 times has been a two edged sword. While the number of logs submitted
has increased, stories abound of some stations refusing to work a portable
station as they have already worked and if they worked again the station
would have to submit a log. This is most unsatisfactory and behaviour like
this reflects very badly on the stations involved. Are we all so time poor
that we cannot spend a couple of hours converting a paper log into a contest
entry? When in fact it is actually quite a straight forward task to enter
the details from your station log using a program like VKCL and then submit
your log to me.
The contest appears to have gone quite well, despite the sometimes fierce
storms that plagued parts of South Eastern Australia and the overall activity
seems to be comparable to last year. So do not forget to submit your log
before the closing date of the 19th April. I look forward to receiving your
Thanks for your time and now back to Felix.
SPECIAL EVENT STATIONS, DX, BEACON REPEATER AND NET ADVICE
Tony, VK7VKT the REAST President has offered reassurance to the Hams in the
VK7 area about the ongoing availability of repeaters, mainly VK7RAD 146.700
It was being reported to him that concerns had been based around the
decommissioning of VK7RAD in preference to a digital alternative.
This could not be further from the truth the President said.
In fact if any change were to occur it would be to make improvements to the
repeater, certainly not to decommission it. Even if a digital option were to
become available, the analogue repeaters would always be maintained and always
be improved upon when required.
Netherlands Special Event Station PA6USA
Look for special event station PA 6 USA active between March 24th and April.
Activity is taking place because of the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in
The Hague, where President Obama and a U.S. delegation will be attending.
QSL via PA 7 DA by the Dutch Bureau.
Plenty of portable activity in April
With the return of milder weather comes news that more portable activity
is planned in support of a number of operating awards that are now available.
Many Activators and Hunters working towards these various Parks and SOTA
Awards are now commonly undertaking cross-border operations.
Tony Hambling VK3VTH will be heading to VK5 to participate in the South
Australian National and Conservation Parks Activation weekend, which is on
April the 5th and 6th.
This follows visits by several VK5 Activators during the Keith Roget Memorial
National Parks Award activation period in November last year. It is great
to see such cross-pollination of on air activities.
Tony VK3VTH will also use the Easter Long Weekend to travel to New South
Wales to qualify several other National Parks for the VK Flora & Fauna Award
and also World Wide Flora & Fauna Award.
Parks to be activated include the coastal Ben Boyd National Park, the site
of the Green Cape Lighthouse and Wadbilliga National Park.
Then back to VK3 National Parks for the ANZAC Day weekend, and into the Little
Desert National Park for Saturday & Sunday 26/27.
Then back to VK3 National Parks for the ANZAC Day weekend, and into the Little
Desert National Park for Saturday & Sunday April the 26th and 27th.
There is very likely to be others chasing the Keith Roget Memorial National
Parks Award, VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award, the World Wide Flora
& Fauna Award, and Summits On The Air across the Easter break.
Portable operating using very small battery powered rigs, often running QRP,
is a most popular activity among radio amateurs, including Foundation Licence
A growing number of Activators and Hunters alike are getting involved in
this great pastime. Give them a call when next you hear a portable operation.
I mentioned the VK5 National and Conservation Parks award, with more here is
This April is the 12 month anniversary of the VK5 National and Conservation
Parks Award. To celebrate the award's first birthday, a special activation
weekend will be held on Saturday the 5th April and Sunday 6th April 2014.
This is your opportunity to join in the celebrations, and activate one of
South Australia's 21 National Parks and 262 Conservation Parks. It is also
a great opportunity to fill your log book with some new parks and qualify
for some of the numerous certificates on offer.
At this stage, 11 amateurs will be operating portable from a total of
31 different Conservation Parks and 4 different National Parks all around
South Australia. This includes Tony VK3VTH who will be venturing across the
If you do intend to activate a park, please advise Paul VK5PAS, so that your
call sign can be added to the Activation spread sheet which can be found on
the VK5 Parks Yahoo group. The purpose of the spread sheet is to avoid
duplicate activations of the same park, and allow park Hunters to see who is
operating from what park and when.
Again, the special activation weekend is Saturday the 5th April and Sunday
6th April. So please, become involved as either an activator or a hunter.
More information can be found on the VK5 Parks website at..
Or on the AHARS website at..
(Paul, VK5PAS on behalf of the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society and
Jim Linton VK3PC)
WW SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS --- FINAL FRONTIER
AMSAT-DL President, Peter Guelzow DB2OS, has confirmed there will be two
amateur radio transponders on the Geostationary Es'hail 2 satellite planned
to launch at the end of 2016
As a result of a concept proposed by the Qatar Amateur Radio Society,
Es' Hailsat, the Qatar Satellite Company, have announced that their new,
geostationary, communications spacecraft will provide transponders for use by
A 250 kHz linear transponder intended for conventional analogue
(e.g. SSB / CW) operations in addition to another transponder which will have
an 8 MHz bandwidth. The latter transponder is intended for experimental
digital modulation schemes and DVB amateur television.
Precise uplink and downlink frequencies remain to be finalized but both
transponders will have broad beam antennas to provide full coverage over
about 1/3rd of the earth's surface.
SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS - VHF AND ABOVE
New microwave world EME record
The new world distance record for 24 GHz on the Earth-Moon-Earth path has
been set with a contact between Tasmania and Britain.
Rex Moncur VK7MO and Charlie Suckling G3WDG bounced signals in the two-way
QSO that has an official distance of 17,405.6 kms, put the pair in the record
It was quite an achievement on March 5. Rex VK7MO was located to the height
Mt Wellington near Hobart to minimise water vapour that attenuates signals
at 24 GHz.
The Moon was close to Earth, but being also visible at both ends had to be
at a low elevation, which meant the signals passed through a lot of
EME work at 24 GHz can be highly technical involving the right conditions,
power and synchronisation. Well done to VK7MO and G3WDG.
(Jim Linton VK3PC)
REWIND a look back at history
Milestone for prominent radio club
With over 300 members and priding itself on 'achieving progress through
activity', the Westlake's Amateur Radio Club in York Street Teralba, on
Lake Macquarie 100 kms north of Sydney, celebrates its 50 birthday.
The club was formed in 1964, but the idea had been promoted from 1960, with
the late Keith Howard VK2AKX starting a radio hobby class at the Booragul
High School, which originally had the Westlake's callsign of VK2ATZ.
The club's history makes very interesting reading and can be found on its
website. But in summary, Keith VK2AKX was first involved in teaching AOCP
classes and the Youth Radio Scheme training.
This led later to education publications. The club with Keith as author
produced 'A Manual of Questions and Answers for the Novice Licence', selling
30,000 copies and the mainstay of knowledge needed for the then Novice
The Westlake's Amateur Radio Club has always sought to spread the good word
of our hobby through its public relations activity. For example, as part of
its 50th anniversary, it mounted an active display at the three-day Newcastle
Regional Show in late-February and early-March this year.
Despite rain reducing the crowd, the Westlake's gang stuck it out. Because
April is its 50th birthday, Westlake's is excused from being involved with
the PR4AmateurRadio Expo.
Do join its celebration by contacting the club's special callsign VI2ATZ50,
that will be on air throughout all of April, issuing a commemorative QSL
card, and also an anniversary award.
Congratulations to the Westlake's Amateur Radio Club - thanks for the
contributions including contesting, digital modes, QSL'ing, International
Lighthouse and Lightship Weekends, fox-hunts, kit-building, antennas and
much more over the years.
(Jim Linton VK3PC)
SOCIAL SCENE 2014
Mar 28-30 VK4 Bunya Mts&District AmCom camp Somerset dam (email@example.com)
Apr 13-15 VK PR4AmateurRadio Expo.
Apr 18 WW Amateur Radio Day: Your Gateway to Wireless Communications.
Apr 25 vk3 ANZAC Day event Ballarat Showgrounds (firstname.lastname@example.org)
May 2- 4 VK4 Clairview Gathering ( 0429 632 815 )
May 10 VK4 BARCFEST: Salvation Army Hall Calamvale.
May 16-18 VK4 WIA Conference presented by SCARC ( email@example.com )
Jun 7-9 VK5 South East Radio Club's (SERG) 50th annual Convention and
Australian Foxhunting Championship.
Nov 2 VK5 HamFest Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society
Nov 30 VK3 SPARC HamFest at Rosebud ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
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