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2015 News Releases




Awards Presented to Deserving Amateurs

Date : 21 / 05 / 2015
Author : Roger Harrison - VK2ZRH

Presentation of the annual awards is always a highlight of the Institute’s Annual General Meeting and Open Forum. As you heard on last week’s broadcast, a special Certificate of Appreciation, and a small gift, was presented to WIA employee Dianne Ashton VK3FDIZ, who is retiring from the WIA Exams Service after nine years. The AGM audience gave her a standing ovation.

Each year, the Publications Committee nominate deserving amateurs for three awards:
  the Al Shawsmith Award for journalism for the best non-technical article published in Amateur Radio magazine in the calendar year,
  the Higginbotham Award for service to the amateur radio community, and
  the Amateur Radio Technical Award for the best technical article published in Amateur Radio magazine in the calendar year.

Al Shawsmith VK4SS was the Official Historian for the Queensland Division of the WIA, a noted CW operator and DXer, licensed since 1935 and a prolific writer.

The Higginbothan Award is named after Ron Higginbotham VK3RN, who produced Amateur Radio magazine over many decades.

The Al Shawsmith Award for 2014 was shared by Joe Gonzales VK3YSP and Julie Gonzales VK3FOWL for the article "The International Museums Weekend at the Melbourne Museum" published in the September 2014 issue of Amateur Radio.

The 2014 Higginbothan Award was awarded to Bill Roper VK3BR for his long service to the WIA of 60-plus years, in various roles associated with the production of Amateur Radio magazine, and long membership of the Publications Committee.

For the best technical article published in Amateur Radio magazine in 2014, the Amateur Radio Technical Award went to Dale Hughes VK1DSH for his article "A networked, automatic and remotely controlled MF ATU", published in the May 2014 issue of Amateur Radio.

One of the most prestigious awards the WIA sponsors is the Ron Wilkinson Achievement Award.

Ron Wilkinson VK3AKC was a well-known VHF-UHF operator and homebrewer over the 1950s-1980s. He distinguished himself by making the first moonbounce contact from Australia on 1296 MHz, with a huge homebrew dish and hand-built transverter and kilowatt power amplifier. Hence, the award is for special achievement in any facet of amateur radio and is only available to amateurs from VK call areas.

The Board had great pleasure in granting the 2014 Ron Wilkinson Achievement Award to David Rowe VK5DGR, for achievement in developing the Codec2 patent-free, open source digital speech processor for amateur radio applications.

Another prestigious WIA honour is the Chris Jones Award, named after the National WIA’s first secretary, Chris Jones VK2ZDD. It is awarded to radio amateurs who have made an exceptional contribution to amateur radio and the Wireless Institute of Australia. The Chris Jones Award for 2014 was presented to a surprised and humbled Jim Linton VK3PC, who told the AGM audience he never expected to receive the ward.

A new award

The Board introduced a new award this year, known as the Technical Excellence Award, granted where some technical excellence is demonstrated in any special technical aspect of amateur radio.

The very first Technical Excellence Awards – for 2014 – were granted to Rex Moncur VK7MO and Derek Zeck VK6DZ, for outstanding achievement in establishing a new World DX Record for 10 GHz, exploiting tropospheric refraction across the Great Australian Bight to make contact over a distance of 2732 km.

President’s Commendations

These certificates are awarded in recognition of an exceptional or memorable achievement in the calendar year by an individual radio amateur, club or group. There were five awarded for 2014.

Paul Simmonds VK5PAS received a President’s Commendation for outstanding achievement in the WorldWide Flora & Fauna amateur radio program, nationally and internationally, drawing attention to the importance of protecting nature, flora and fauna.

Allen Harvie VK3HRA received a President’s Commendation for development of the "parksnpeaks" website, an online portal, providing a major contribution to VK amateurs engaging in working from National and State parks, Summits on the Air, the World Wide Flora & Fauna program, and QRP activities.

Peter Wolfenden VK3RV received a President’s Commendation for outstanding contribution to the WIA's ANZAC Centenary Commemoration 2015 in researching and writing a series of articles on Australian amateurs' wartime service involvement, published in Amateur Radio magazine.

Ernie Walls VK3FM was awarded a President’s Commendation in recognition of many years service to the Publications Committee as both member and Secretary.

Will McGhie VK6UU received a President’s Commendation for outstanding dedication to scanning the issues of Amateur Radio magazine over the decades from the early 20th century to the present era and producing digital files providing an invaluable historical and technical resource.


The WIA Board received no nominations for Life Membership, or for the G A Taylor medal this past year and, while Board members considered seeking out likely candidates, it considered there were no stand-out individuals during 2014. The Taylor Medal is conferred by the Board irregularly and rarely, in acknowledgment of exceptional voluntary service to the WIA.


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