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2009 Magazines

Other years

Amateur Radio April 2009

Delivery expected from March 31



Following the fires and floods of February, many communities are starting to move into the various phases of recovery. Parts of Queensland are starting to dry out and are probably looking forward to the end of the wet season. I think most would also be aware of the task ahead in southern Queensland following the oil spill from a large cargo vessel.

In Victoria, the clean up of sites impacted by fires has begun and news is circulating of how the large sum raised by the appeals will begin to be distributed. Individuals are starting on the tasks required to start to return to normality – the steps may be the construction of new fencing, or the long road of planning the construction of a new house to replace the home lost to the fires.

This issue of AR carries some stories of the involvement of amateurs during the fires. Not all the individuals will be identified, but entire communities ultimately owe a great deal to all who volunteered and worked during the emergency, regardless of the agency, amateur or otherwise.


We all offer our congratulations to those who did well in the Ross Hull and Summer Field Day contests.

The results appear elsewhere in this issue. They show something very important, especially in the case of the Ross Hull Contest – you cannot win if you do not submit an entry! An event such as the Ross Hull presents many challenges, not the least of which is that it ran for an entire month this year.

The overall winner will tell all that his score came about from being in the radio shack only when it was possible – Robbie runs his own very active business, so he was not sitting in the shack for days on end just waiting for propagation to bring a new contact. Congratulations Rob.

As this issue is being prepared, the John Moyle Memorial National Field Day is fast approaching.

Unfortunately, the weather is looking as if it will not be kind for those out on hilltops in south-eastern parts of the country. In my view, all who participated should submit their log to the Contest Manager, even if they consider that they have no chance of winning.

It is not the winning that is important, especially in this contest; it is the preparation and participation. Everyone who operated portable deserves recognition of their efforts. Part of that recognition comes from your log score being listed in the final results.

More hard work

Many will be aware that the staff at the WIA office have been working extra hard in the last month, especially because of the introduction of the new system regarding the issuing of callsigns and Certificates of Proficiency.

Some further discussions arising from the consideration of these tasks appear in News and Comment in this issue. It looks as if the office and Board team has more work still to come.

Much work has been occurring to prepare for the WIA Annual General Meeting and the GippsTech – Special Event weekend of activities to occur in Churchill on the first weekend of May.

I do look forward to catching up with many of you who attend – hopefully perhaps most. As the key organiser of the GippsTech components of the weekend, I am sure you can appreciate that I may be very busy at times!

Finally, remember that the traditional GippsTech event is scheduled for the weekend of 11 and 12 July!

73 Peter VK3KAI

Cover photo
Joe VK7JG with a high power LED optical transmitter during tests of over the horizon optical communications. Fog was started to envelop the site. See the detailed story in this issue on page 22. Photo by Alvin de Quincey VK7NDQ.

Table Of Contents

Charging around in the campervan Richard Cortis VK2XRC
Amateur Radio Wiki: an introduction Tim Roberts VK4YEH
Book Review: Ham Radio’s Technical Culture Reviewer: Justin Giles-Clark VK7TW
Reflections on the Ingham flood of 2009 Felix Scerri VK4FUQ
RECOM: Australia’s quiet achiever in emergency communications Jim Linton VK3PC

A handy portable mast support Anthony Rogers VK3JIA
A manual controller for microwave step attenuators Mike O’Ryan VK4YNQ
A simple solution to an expensive problem John Sutcliffe VK3TCT
Cloudbounce optical communication Rex Moncur VK7MO and Justin Giles-Clark VK7TW

RECOM: Australia’s quiet achiever in emergency communications

Jim Linton VK3PC

The author gives readers the background on the establishment and development of RECOM, the Red Cross Emergency Communications service, established ten years ago as a stand-alone emergency services unit.

It is (quite unfortunately) an opportune time for readers to know about, understand and, if possible, contribute to such groups, as the memory of the tragic Victorian bush fires is still fresh in all people’s minds.

Charging around in the campervan

Richard Cortis VK2XRC

The author describes how he overcame problems associated with the charging circuits feeding a second battery (the “house” battery) in the campervan, so that reliable battery charging was achieved at low cost.

Cloudbounce optical communication

Rex Moncur VK7MO and Justin Giles-Clark VK7TW

The authors are both well known experimenters in the field of optical communications, and their achievements and methodologies are at the cutting edge of amateur achievement, by any standard.

This article explains in some detail how they have achieved such significant results, and in particular explains the development and building of the hardware upon which the experimentation was based, and will interest all amateurs with an interest in optical communications.

Highly recommended.

Note: The authors will be presenting an overview of their experiments at the GippsTech – Special Edition conference as part of the WIA AGM weekend of activities on the first weekend in May.

A simple solution to an expensive problem

John Sutcliffe VK3TCT

The author managed to procure a quantity of high quality and expensive LDF450 Heliax coaxial cable.

In determining an appropriate way to terminate the cable, he found that the typical solution, purchasing N type connectors, was somewhat expensive and, in any event, more so than he cared to pay.

This article provides his low tech option for a cheaper alternative for so terminating the coax – an interesting option, to say the least.

Advertisers Index

 25 ATRC
 55 Av-com
 23 Bookshop
 16 Com-an-tena
 OBC Icom
 26 Rippletech
 55 Small ads
 9 TET-Emtron
 17, 55 TTS
 13 White (Hamshack


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