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2008 Magazines

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Amateur Radio October 2008

Delivery expected from 7 October


A stalwart retires

At the September meeting of the Publications Committee (PubCom), long-standing member Ron Fisher VK3OM announced that he was retiring from the Committee.

Ron has had a long involvement with the publication of Amateur Radio magazine, commencing from 1954. He retired from the Committee for a short time in the late 1960s, but was persuaded to return after a break.

As well as providing insightful contributions to discussions at our meetings, Ron has published many reviews of equipment and a variety of other articles over several decades. His knowledge of older equipment has been shared at times in articles outlining some of the veteran gear that is still very useful in the shack. In addition, he has played a key role in the preparation process of Hamads in each issue of AR.
Some months ago, Ron had suffered an accident in the garden which resulted in surgery and the ensuing recovery process. Forced to slow down considerably, Ron has recognized that he is no longer as young as he may have felt. He has decided that many tasks will need to be tackled in a different manner, perhaps even left to others. As part of his considerations, Ron decided that the monthly travel at night to the PubCom meetings was one undertaking that could, reluctantly, be dropped.

President Michael Owen VK3KI and the members of PubCom all thanked Ron for his extensive contributions and wished him well in his retirement from this activity. Ron did indicate that he is willing to continue the checking of Hamad material prior to publication, so he will still be making a regular contribution. Of course, you cannot keep a good man down – he also remarked that he may still prepare the occasional article for publication.

As Editor, I thank you Ron for all your work – it has been most valuable during my tenure in this position. I am sure that all readers will join me in wishing Ron the best for all that is still to come.


By now, many amateurs will be tackling the task of adopting a new habit – using a new callsign. The ballot for two letter callsigns has been completed and I have already heard some on air. Of course, it will be not only the new callsign holders attempting to learn the new callsign, but many of their regular contacts will also need to change their habits!

It is hoped that most of the processing of the resulting changes will by now be completed, as we have just taken a critical step in the preparation of the next Callbook – the ordering of the database information from the ACMA.

If you end up without your callsign in the next Callbook, just remember that it can only reflect the information as it exists at a single date – that is always a constraint of a printed publication.
Readers are reminded that it is their individual responsibility to promptly notify the licensing authority of any change to their details.


The growing popularity of digital cameras means that many now use them to record a variety of activities – amateur radio activities included. Most of the photographs contributed to AR with articles and news items are now digital images.

Unfortunately, many are not suitable for publication. Others are very good in subject and composition, suitable for the cover of AR or the inside back cover, but are not useable for either of these purposes.

Why is this so?

Many people set the camera to record the maximum number of images and to save the image as low or medium quality jpg format files (or do not alter the default settings on the camera when they start using it). The result will be an image of only 200-300 kilobytes, even though the camera is often capable of much better.
Such images are fine to use inside AR, but we need higher resolution images for the cover.

If you think that your planned photograph may be cover material, think about checking the file size settings before pressing the shutter button. We need images of at least 1 MB, preferably larger. And look at the cost of memory cards now – the prices have fallen considerably.

You can always send in a smaller version – say around 200-500 kB. Let us know that the image is available at higher resolution. If we think it will be useful at higher resolution, we will be in touch regarding a higher resolution file.

Beware of contributing photos via some of the software tools that many seem to use: some email client software converts the photo to a much smaller file – any image less than 100 kB may make the email transfer quicker but is unlikely to be usable anywhere in the magazine!

73, Peter VK3KAI


With permission from the Devonport City Council to camp at The Mersey Bluff and with a key to the reserve, Winston VK7EM was able to set up his station next to the lighthouse and participate in the ILLW from a location with a million dollar view!
Photograph by Winston Nickols VK7EM.

Table Of Contents


Book review: Radio Projects for the Amateur Volume 4: Evan Jarman VK3ANI
International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend: Cape Jaffa, Williamstown, Mersey Bluff, Cooktown


The Sniffit - an over timer for 70 cm and 2 metres: Jim Tregellas VK5JST
NEScaf – an essential addition to any QRP shack: Grant McDuling VK4JAZ
An amplitude modulation monitor: Drew Diamond VK3XU
A Class-D amplitude modulator for the 40 metre Class-E transmitter: Phil Wait VK2DKN
Tower and TH6DXX raising at VK3PDX QTH: David Helyar VK3PDX
Constructing a 50 W, 23 cm power amplifier: Chas Gnaccarini VK3PY

International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend

Charles Prime VK5XCP, Terry Murphy VK3UP, Winston Nickols VK7EM, and Ross Anderson VK4AQ and Wayne Richter VK4ARW

Reports of International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend activities from South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland tell us about the fun and fellowship enjoyed by all who participated in this worldwide activity.

Book review: Radio Projects for the Amateur Volume 4

Evan Jarman VK3ANI

Amateur Radio readers will be familiar with the work of Drew Diamond. His projects have shown a consistent quality that has earned many technical awards. The author has shown that you can still build reasonably sophisticated equipment using simple techniques. Now he has combined some of his more recent projects together in one book, his fourth collection of radio projects.

This book is a compendium of separate, stand alone, articles, the majority of which have appeared in past copies of Amateur Radio.

All the equipment described is beautifully built and a credit to the author.

The Sniffit - an over timer for 70 cm and 2 metres

Jim Tregellas VK5JST

This article details, in significant detail, how to build a timer that will ensure that you not time out your local repeater, whether on the 70 cm or 2 metre amateur bands.

All the information required is provided - the article includes diagrams for the circuit itself, for the component layout and for the circuit board, as well as for the programming routine allowing operation of the unit as explained in the article. The text of the article describes how to build the unit with the information provided, and get it operational.

The author is quite well known for his building exploits, and this article certainly supports that reputation.

See the link below to download the program for the PIC controller.

Constructing a 50 W, 23 cm power amplifier

Chas Gnaccarini VK3PY

Chas VK3PY gives a detailed description of how to build this useful linear amplifier for the 23 cm band. With attention to some details, this project has been successfully reproduced by at least three other amateurs since its design. Parts for the amplifier are readily available and a package of the design files is available for download below.

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Files For Download

Software routine for the Jim Tregellis VK5JST over timer
Sniffit timer routine.doc

Eagle layout software files for the VK3PY 50 W amplifier for 23 cm

Schematic diagrams for the Class D Modulator article by Phil Wait VK2DKN

Page Last Updated: Wednesday 1 October 2008 at 13:48 hours


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