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NATIONAL NEWS FOR WEEK COMMENCING May 17 2015.
IN OUR 20TH YEAR OF NON STOP NEWS
Earthquake disaster continues in Nepal
Balloon the size of Melbourne Cricket Ground lands in VK4
WIA ANZAC commemorations continue in VK and ZL
Norfolk Island here we come! WIA Board explains
THESE STORIES AND MORE IN THIS EDITION OF NEWS FROM THE WIRELESS INSTITUTE
OF AUSTRALIA 2015 AND FOR WEEK OF MAY 17
Earthquake disaster continues in Nepal
Almost immediately a fresh earthquake measuring 7.4 hit Nepal last Tuesday,
the 20m emergency frequency was activated as people ran outdoors, already
traumatised by the April the 25th massive earthquake, deaths, injury and
The new earthquake was followed by significant aftershocks. Satish 9N1AA
in Kathmandu was on the emergency net reporting on the loss of power, normal
communications, and the aftermath damage.
Jayu VU2JAU, the National Coordinator for Disaster Communication in India,
immediately had contacts with neighbouring parts of India that felt the tremor.
He then had contact with Satish 9N1AA, who reported on the situation with
six houses collapsed in Kathmandu, 30 deaths and 60 people injured.
What surprised many was the length of time the latest earthquake was felt.
Sanjeeb 9N1SP emailed that there were "aftershocks after aftershocks" and
he had to remain outdoors until it was safe.
No apparent need existed for radio amateurs this time to provide additional
While the Nepalese are still on edge, an assurance exists with foreign rescue
groups, humanitarian organisations, the International Telecommunications
Union and the government, continuing to do their work.
In about a month's time the monsoon season begins. This may further affect
many already damaged buildings and spark landslides.
(Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee)
An enormous research balloon has been launched in Alice Springs (VK8)
to collect data from the Vela Pulsar, a collapsed star 1,000 light years away
The giant balloon took two-and-a-half hours to carry 800 kilograms of
equipment 35 kilometres into the sky, where it floated all day before
coming down near Longreach in VK4.
Five years ago a multi-million dollar scientific space balloon crashed on
take-off in Alice Springs, destroying its payload, tipping over a car and
sending observers running for their lives.
This time, police put road blocks in place to ensure the safety of the public
as the balloon was launched about 6:30am.
The director of the balloon launching station at Alice Springs Airport, Ravi
Sood, said the project would measure gamma rays from the neutron star, which
is the dead relic of a massive, collapsed star.
"It is a designed to measure gamma rays - high-energy gamma rays - coming from
very exotic objects in our galaxy," he said.
"This particular one is trying to measure gamma rays coming from the Vela
The Vela Pulsar is about 19 kilometres in diameter and rotates more than 11
times per second, which is faster than a helicopter rotor.
This research balloon is the size of Melbourne Cricket Ground and landed
just a week after a NASA balloon was found near Queensland and NSW border
and this also the size of football field. It flew for 32 days from
Now you may not be working on such huge craft but Home-brewers can learn
about balloon tracking at the next meeting of the Homebrew Construction
Group in VK3 is Saturday, June 6th, at 2pm. The usual venue is the Amateur
Radio Victoria rooms at 40g Victory Boulevard, Ashburton. All are welcome.
Julie VK3FOWL and Joe VK3YSP will present the design, flight and recovery of an
Amateur Radio High Altitude Balloon fitted with a homebrew 30-metre beacon.
The balloon and payload were launched and tracked last month by the Melbourne
Amateur Radio and Technical Group, as part of its entry in the recent Global
Space Balloon Challenge.
The payload transmitted GPS telemetry via JT65 and JT9, enabling successful
recovery after a two-hour flight. The presentation will cover details of the
hardware and software design enabling the balloon's position to be tracked and
uploaded to the Internet.
A very interesting presentation is promised. The latest newsletter compiled by
Ian VK3LA, will be emailed to subscribers in the week before the meeting held
on Saturday June the 6th.
Inquiries and comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
This just in from Mark/VK4FMAR about Mario/VK4MS from Ingham
VK4MS Mario has been air lifted to Adelaide hospital by RFDS after a fall
from a tower while doing some work while on holidays down VK5 way.
He has suffered some spinal injuries in the lower back BUT is presently
comfortable and stable.
Regards. Mark VK4FMAR.
ANZAC commemoration continues in VK and ZL
Plenty of on air activity can be heard commemorating the Centenary of Gallipoli
landing in 1915 of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp or ANZAC troops,
and subsequent conflicts involving ANZACs.
Both the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) and the New Zealand Association
of Radio Transmitters (NZART) are running complementary programs.
The VK100ANZAC callsign has been on air since Thursday and finishes tonight,
Sunday the 18th of May, thanks to Hervey Bay Amateur Radio Club.
Wade Milford VK4WM advises the event commemorates Duncan Chapman who was born
at Maryborough Queensland and the first to land at Gallipoli on April the 25th,
1915. The VK100ANZAC event involves the RSL and the Maryborough Military and
Colonial Museum. Media publicity is being sought to promote Amateur Radio.
Lieutenant Duncan Chapman, who later became a Major in the 9th Battalion, was
killed in action at Pozieres, France in 1916.
Maryborough has erected a statue of Duncan Chapman to mark the 100th
anniversary of him stepping ashore at the head of the Allied landing at
Activity from ZL100ANZAC continues at a high level at weekends and somewhat
lower during the week depending on the availability of operators and
So far ZL100ANZAC has made just over 9,000 QSOs and there are 111 DXCC entries
in the log, mainly on all bands 40m to 10m, using CW, SSB, RTTY and PSK.
The NZART is also on 80m, 2m and 70cm for local contacts, and offers a
Meantime all VK stations who used the alternative AX prefix on the ANZAC Day
weekend may be eligible for an operating award. Those details and the limited
issue ANZAC Centenary Award criteria, are on the WIA website
Also in VK in July we will have three days of VK100ANZAC on RTTY from South
Australia, giving this mode plenty of concentrated activity.
Looking well ahead to May 2016, consideration is being given to VK9ANZAC being
used on Norfolk Island, an Australian Territory 800 kms northwest of New
Zealand and 1,600 kms northeast of Sydney.
During WWII there was a radar installation on Norfolk Island, an air-sea rescue
unit and transport aircraft servicing unit, as well as Coast Watchers in
ANZAC 100 articles appear in Amateur Radio magazine by WIA Historian, Peter
Wolfenden VK3RV. Here's a summary of yet one of them.
Those who have followed the activities of the British code breakers at
Bletchley Park during WWII, know of the work of the Voluntary Interceptors,
later known as the Radio Security Service.
British radio amateurs heard what sounded like typical amateur CW or Morse
code exchanges, but there were subtle differences such as callsigns and
procedure. Some had five letter groups and certainly not of amateur origin.
Interest by the authorities saw the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB)
asked to organise listening for more such signals.
Reports of interest were passed onto Bletchley for final processing and code
breaking. Frequently, an amateur would be asked for further monitoring of
particular traffic to help build a more complete picture. All involved were
silent about their secretive role.
And what of Australia?
An Adelaide newspaper in 1951 reported "ADELAIDE 'HAMS' DID GREAT WORK IN
WAR," touches on the monitoring of illicit transmissions.
As luck had it, a 1986 recording of Gordon Ragless VK5GR (SK) made at the
Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society, was in the WIA Archive.
He speaks of his personal wartime activities - especially the monitoring
of foreign signals.
It appears that a small monitoring group began in 1941. According to Gordon,
there were similar activities in the other capital cities. Four operators
worked in shifts at the PMG Frequency Measuring Station in Adelaide.
The group were Gordon himself, Ivor Thomas VK5IT and two others - Harry
Rogers and Arnold Brydon - both with Navy experience.
Every station heard on Hallicrafters receivers, sets of frequencies, was
recorded. Any messages with five letter groups would be decoded by the
Surprisingly, one message intercepted was in fact a strange mixture of letters
in all sorts of sized groups.
When finally decoded the name of every boat in Port Adelaide and the Outer
Harbour had been spelt backwards. This incident took place in the summer
Earlier, an unusual signal was heard early each morning in late May 1942
that sounded like a continuous carrier. A former Navy man thought it was
a homing signal from a boat.
After reporting it a couple of times, the team were not surprised to learn
that three midget submarines attacked Sydney Harbour, having been taken to
Sydney Heads by a group of larger submarines.
The National War Museum in Canberra has a near complete midget submarine.
Perhaps further information about similar wartime monitoring in Australia
will become available, but at present, we still know very little.
(Jim Linton VK3PC)
WIA President Phil Wait VK2ASD introduces Roger Harrison VK2ZRH with some
highlights from the Annual General Meeting and Conference
Judging from many comments made to me and the smiles on many faces, our annual
conference and AGM, held in Canberra last weekend, over the 9th and 10th of
May, was well received by those who attended.
Early on Saturday the tenth, President Phil Wait presented a certificate and
gift to the Institute's loyal staff member, Dianne Ashton VK3FDIZ.
Dianne will retire on the third of July, so this was the best opportunity to
honour her valued contribution to the running of the WIA over the past nine
years, in particular the examination service.
At the end of the short presentation ceremony, Dianne received a standing
Another major highlight came at the end of the annual dinner, when a proposal
to hold the 2016 event on Norfolk Island was presented to the dinner audience.
Directors Robert Broomhead VK3DN and Fred Swainston VK3DAC led the audience
through a short video and PowerPoint presentation of the proposal, which gained
an enthusiastic response from members and guests when a show of hands was
requested to gauge the potential level of interest.
To the surprise of some Board members, two thirds of the audience put up their
hands in support of the proposal, with 66 adding their names to a list to
indicate they would like to attend the proposed event.
The WIA has established a tradition of combining the AGM with a weekend of
activities of particular interest to radio amateurs.
The first was in Parkes NSW in 2007, featuring a tour of "the dish".
Destinations since have included Broken Hill in 2008, Churchill in Victoria's
Gippsland in 2009, the 2010 Centenary AGM in Canberra with a tour of Dick
Smith's private aircraft museum nearby, Darwin in 2011, Perth in 2012, Mildura
in 2013 and Mooloolaba on Queensland's Sunshine Coast in 2014.
The Norfolk Island proposal continues this tradition, with a "one out of the
box" opportunity for attendees to engage in an erstwhile DXpedition "en
masse", and perhaps Worldwide Flora and Fauna award or SOTA operations.
Norfolk Island also offers a wide range of non-amateur activities, such as bird
watching, bush walking, swimming, diving, fishing, philately and guided tours.
But it's not a "done deal".
At this stage, to continue to judge the level of support, the Board is seeking
further expressions of interest from anyone who would like to attend.
Like all WIA AGM weekends, this is not a 'members only' event; while only
members can vote at the brief official AGM proceedings, we invite and encourage
both members and non-members alike to come and join in a most exciting weekend
You can add your name to the list of people who have expressed interest in
attending the proposed 2016 AGM on Norfolk Island by completing a form on the
See the item under Latest News.
Meanwhile, on social media, the "clickerati" are in full flight! "Clickerati"
- a combination of mouse-click and literati; the supporters of the proposal
outnumber the detractors.
In coming weeks there'll be news of more highlights from the annual general
This is Roger Harrison VK2ZRH for VK1WIA News.
What use is an F-call?
You've come across the term dB, or Decibel. Likely you've heard of dBi as well.
These terms are all related to Decibels, but mean completely different things.
A decibel, named after Alexander Graham Bell, is a RELATIVE measure of two
different power levels, that is, one power level compared to another power
level. 3dB is about twice as much power, 6db is about four times as much, and
10dB is exactly 10 times as much power. This means that you can say that a
feedline has 6dB loss, that is, you need to put 20 Watt in at one end to get 5
Watts out at the other. In short, a dB is a ratio between two levels of power,
in the feedline case, the power in vs. the power out the other end.
In antenna land, you'll have heard dBi as the measure of the amazingness of an
antenna. A dBi is a measure of gain of an antenna when compared to an ISOTROPIC
source. This is a theoretical reference, that cannot actually exist in nature,
but at least it's always the same, which allows you to compare two antennas to
each other when their gain is both expressed in dBi.
You might also come across a dBd, or antenna gain when compared with a dipole.
A dipole in itself can be compared to an Isotrope. Its gain is 2.41 dBi or
0dBd. Which incidentally goes to why many antenna manufactureres play silly
games with dBi and dBd.
An antenna described as 24 dB should send you back to the manufacturer to ask
them, 24 compared to what? If it's 24 dBi, it's compared to an isotrope, if
it's 24 dBd, it's compared to a dipole. This means that there could be a 4.81
dB difference between two incorrectly named "24 dB" antennas.
There's more than this, think about dBW, dBV, dBu, dBmV, dBA, dBZ and many,
The thing to take away is that a dB is a relative term. One compared to
another. If only one's specified, you don't nessicarily know compared to what?
dBi references it to an Isotrope and dBd references it to a dipole.
I'm Onno VK6FLAB
Silent Keys are best sent to AR Magazine and your local state or club news
rather than this WIA National News Service.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS With thanks to IARU, RSGB, SARL, Southgate AR Club, ARRL,
Amateur Radio Newsline, NZART and the WW sources of the WIA.
Nepal aid repeater released by customs
Thanks to the efforts of the Computer Association of Nepal-USA, a
repeater that the group had donated to Tribhuvan University in
Nepal was released from customs on 5th May and now is at the
University in the care of Sanjeeb, 9N1SP.
As Nepal responds to the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake,
amateur radio has been playing a key role in the recovery effort.
This role has been to provide communication for responders working
in more remote regions as well as to help in locating missing
people. It also has served to convey information about casualties.
70 MHZ ACCESS FOR GERMAN RADIO HAMS FOR SPORADIC E SEASON
The Deutscher Amateur Radio Club reports that hams in Germany will have access
to 70.150 MHz to 70.180 MHz in the 4 meter band during the Sporadic-E season.
This after publication of an announcement in the Official Journal of
Communication on April 29th.
Holders of that nations class A license are able to use a limited portion of
the band from now until August 31st.
Ham Video transmitter now transmitting
On Friday May 1st, 2015 the Ham Video transmitter on board the Columbus module
of the International Space Station was powered on and started transmitting in
'Blank Transmission' (BT) mode.
In this mode, the transmitter is operated without camera. The digital TV
signal is fully formatted, but the content of the video is black and the
content of the audio is at zero level. From a technical perspective, the BT
signal is all that is needed for testing and fine tuning ground stations.
The European network of chained ground stations is presently nearly complete.
Six ground stations span the continent in "X" formation.
For each ascending pass over Europe, four stations provide about ten minutes
of solid copy and the same is true for descending passes:
Ascending passes: Lisbon (Portugal ==> Poitiers (France) ==> Casale Monferrato
(North Italy ==> Kolo (Poland)
Descending passes : Cork (Ireland) ==> Poitiers ==> Casale Monferrato ==>
Matera (South Italy.
The chained ground stations are streaming the digital video to the server at
the British Amateur Television Club. BATC set up a multiviewer page accessible
SOLAR ELECTRIC PROPULSION ENGINE'S IONIZING HALL THRUSTER
Engineers at NASA's Glenn Research Centre in Ohio, are working on a
Hall Thruster based propulsion system. One that will propel the first ever
mission to redirect an asteroid for astronauts to explore in the 2020's.
The Hall Thruster is part of an S-E-P system that uses 10 times less
propellant than equivalent chemical rockets. Hall thrusters work by trapping
electrons in a magnetic field and use them to ionize the on-board propellant.
In a recent test, engineers from the Glenn Research Centre and the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory used a vacuum chamber to simulate the space environment.
They then successfully tested a new, higher power Hall thruster design, which
is more efficient and has longer life. In doing so they proved that the
latest thruster can process three times the power of previous designs and
increase efficiency by 50 percent.
U.S. PROPOSES MAKING RADIO MARTI INDEPENDENT
The White House has proposed turning Radio Marti, the U.S. government
controlled broadcaster created in part to undermine communist rule in Cuba,
into a separate entity. This, as Washington seeks a new direction in its
dealings with Havana.
Under the plan, the Miami based broadcaster, which is part of the
Broadcasting Board of Governors would become a separate entity along with
unspecified parts of Voice of America's Spanish-language service. In essence,
Radio Marti would cease to be part of the U.S. government and would turn into
a "grantee" receiving federal funding. The proposal does not specify how it
would be structured beyond that it would a private, non-profit organization.
Who and Where are our broadcast stations?
OPERATIONAL NEWS 2015
Trans-Tasman contest 18th July from 0800utc
10-10 INTERNATIONAL SUMMER CONTEST Aug 1 - 2
Remembrance Day Contest August 15 and 16
Oceania DX contest Voice First full weekend in October
Oceania DX contest Continuous Wave Second full weekend in October.
SPECIAL EVENT STATIONS, DX, BEACON REPEATER AND NET ADVICE
DL 5 DI will be active portable 6 Y 5 from Jamaica between May 22nd and
June 2nd. Activity will be holiday style on the High Frequency bands using
FT-897 transceiver and dipole antenna. QSL via DL 5 DI his home callsign.
W 5 JON will be on the air as V 47 JA from St. Kitts from June 13 until
July 22nd. He plans to be active on 160 through 6 meters SSB.
QSL W 5 JON
F 5 LIT will be active stroke TF from Iceland between May 24th and the 30th.
This operation will be holiday style mainly on 20 and possibly 40 meters SSB.
HOWEVER QSL using Logbook of the World only. BE WARNED.
Sri Lankan 6m beacon back on air
4S7B/B 50.009 MHz 25W to a ground plane antenna running from club shack.
Joint project of RSSL Radio Society of Sri Lanka and 6 Meter Beacon Project,
Your signal reports are most welcome
(4S7JL via SouthGate News)
Prefix hunters may be interested in working special event station DT 5 0KJ.
The station is QRV until 30 June and marks the 50th Anniversary of Diplomatic
Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea (South Korea).
The QSL manager is HL 1 IWD.
SOLAR FLARE CAUSES RADIO BLACK
Sunspot AR2339 unleashed an intense X2-class solar flare on May 5th at
approximately 22:11 UTC. Radiation generated caused strong radio blackouts
on the Pacific side of Earth, interfering with communications at frequencies
below 20 MHz The blast also hurled a Coronal Mass Ejection or CME into
space, but not toward Earth.
More information can be found at spaceweather.com.
WW SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS
ALARA - AUSTRALIAN LADIES AR ASSOCIATION
Net is held each Mondays on 3.570 MHz, commencing at 1030 UTC.
(1000utc during daylight saving)
Good morning, this is Donna VK3FRET on behalf of the Australian ladies Amateur
Radio Association. I'd like to remind you about our 40th Birthday Celebrations
coming up on July 25th. A luncheon will be held at The Novatel Glen Waverley.
Please come along and help the ladies of Amateur Radio celebrate this
I'm Donna for ALARA and VK1WIA
For further information and/or reservations please contact Jean VK3VIP
WW SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS --- ARDF
WIA ARDF COORDINATOR VK3WWW Jack email@example.com
10th IARU Region 3 ARDF Championships held in JA, 6th till 12th of September.
TARC Does ARDF
If you are in the vicinity of the Townsville Region on Saturday June 20th
and want to get involved in a Foxhunt then Tony VK4TJS wants to hear from you.
His phone number is in the text editions.
The foxhunt will start at the Pallarenda Quarantine Station Grounds 1pm and
you have until 18th June to get your attendance numbers in for this Foxhunt.
Tony VK4TJS 074 7 677 137
WW SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS --- CW
FISTS Club - East Asia www.feacw.net
FISTS Club - Australasia www.fistsdownunder.org
FISTS Club - UK & Europe www.fists.co.uk
FISTS Club - Americas www.fists.org
US ARMY TO QUIT TEACHING MORSE CODE AT FORT HUACHUCA
The US Army will quit teaching Morse code to soldiers at its training centre
The Army has used the code since shortly after its invention by Samuel Morse
in 1844. During the Civil War both the Union and Confederate armies heavily
relied on Morse code. But its use decreased significantly since World War II.
These days the military has satellites and other channels of communications
that offer voice services and text messaging on the battlefield.
But for the overall military Morse is not completely going away. Because some
forces still use the code troops that need to know it will have the option of
going to an Air Force sponsored course taught in Texas.
Mikes Morse Mania Display
Do you really appreciate really well preserved radio equipment ?
Mike/VK4MIK certainly does and currently has one of the most extensive
collections of morse keys and heritage equipment in the country. He regularly
arranges public displays of his collection - although due to logistics reasons
he can only display part of the collection at any one time.
The next "Mikes Morse Mania" display will be happening at the Cardwell
Telegraph Museum Friday 29th and Saturday 30th May, and with such an extensive
special display Museum volunteers will be extending the opening hours to let as
many people as possible view 60 plus exquisitely restored morse keys and other
heritage radio gear.
Mike and his many helpers from the Tablelands Radio Group, plus the volunteers
from the Cardwell Telegraph Museum hope you can drop in and see the display.
Make sure you say g'day to Mike and the Museum volunteers!
WW SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS --- FINAL FRONTIER
DELFI-C3 HAS BEEN IN ORBIT 7 YEARS
As of April 28 the Delfi-C3 HM satellite has been in orbit 7 years.
PA3WEG reports that the satellite still remains healthy and strong.
He says that in all those years there have been very few days where no
telemetry was decoded and submitted. He added that Delfi-C3 has been
praised numerous times as the ideal example of a cooperation of
radio amateurs and an university.
(ANS, PA3WEG via ARNewsLine)
AMSAT-UK and AMSAT-NL have announced that a new FUNcube communications
package, based on the British-designed FUNcube-1, has been selected
as a major payload for the Nayif-1 CubeSat mission.
This 1U mission is intended to provide Emirati students with a
tool to design and test systems in space. It is being developed by
the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology in
partnership with American University of Sharjah. It is expected
that this payload will provide a large amount of valuable
environmental data from space together with a new, enhanced, UHF
to VHF linear transponder.
The launch is scheduled to take place towards the end of this year.
SOCIAL SCENE 2015
June 5- 7 VK4 Central Highlands ARC & Theresa Creek Campout, Clermont.
June 6- 7 VK2 Queens Birthday 40th annual Oxley Region Field Day
June 6- 7 VK5 51st South East Radio Group Convention / Australian
July 1 VK4 Caboolture HamFest
July 11-12 VK3 GippsTech 2015
July 18 VK3 Gippsland gate Radio & Electronics Club HamFest @ Cranbourne
July 25 VK3 ALARA's 40th Birthday Lunch, Novotel Glen Waverley.
Sept 12 VK4 SUNFEST Woombye
Sept 25-27 VK4 CHARC AGM Weekend Camp Fairbairn near Emerald
Oct 2-5 VK4 Cardwell Gathering, Beachcomber Motel and Tourist Park
Oct 25 VK3 Ballarat Amateur Radio Group Hamvention Greyhound Track
Oct 25 VK4 Gold Coast HamFest Broadbeach
Nov VK3 QRP By the Bay details from VK3YE held 2nd Saturday
Feb 28 VK3 EMDRC HamFest Great Ryrie Primary School Heathmont.
Ap-May 29-2 VK4 Clairview Gathering check Mackay ARS website
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