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2010 Magazines

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Amateur Radio April 2010

Delivery expected from March 31


One century down

The middle of March saw celebrations held in Sydney to mark the centenary of the formal commencement of organised amateur radio within Australia. There are some brief reports in this issue and we may receive more details for inclusion in a future issue.

With that milestone passed, planning is full steam ahead for the WIA Centenary Annual General Meeting Weekend of Activities, to be held in Canberra over the last weekend in May. Members should have received their formal Notice of Meeting with the March issue of Amateur Radio. Further details can be found on the WIA website – simply click on the link on the lower right side of the home page to find all the celebration information.

I have had my arm twisted to prepare a presentation, so must attempt to find some time to research the topic to which I must speak. The challenge, I suspect, will be to decide the material to be included and what to leave out.

The future

As you will see in Michael Owen’s Comment, planning for the next World Radiocommunications Conference is already underway. I recommend that you all read Michael’s comments, as he highlights issues that, I believe, should be on the mind of every amateur licence holder, regardless of whether or not they are a member of the WIA. A key reason for the formation of an organised group of radio experimenters was to act as an interface to the authorities – this is probably even more important today than 100 years ago, given the increased pressure from many potential users for access to the radio spectrum.

I still hear individuals complaining about how some past event, usually many years ago, justifies a stance to not join the WIA. Have people failed to notice that we are effectively a new body, only a few short years old, but built on a foundation first laid in March 1910? The structure of the WIA is now very different from that prior to the formation of the new national organisation, as opposed to the previous federal structure.

One aspect is still in place – the organisation still relies heavily on the contributions of many volunteers to undertake many tasks. But the Board is moving the organisation ahead.

Importantly, the WIA is still seen as the key voice for amateur radio by the ACMA. Individuals and smaller groups may be able to raise issues via local politicians, but our voice is strongest when we act and speak collectively.

I urge all members to speak to their fellow amateurs who are not members of the WIA and urge them to consider joining. The key point is that we have a stronger voice collectively. You may be able to complain about some aspect of the hobby, or put some particular view. The best way that can influence the direction of the WIA and therefore the hobby in Australia is to become a financial member AND to participate in dialogue with the organisation. This may be through letters to Board members, “Over to you” items to this magazine, via the coordinator for a particular activity (for example, the WIA Awards scheme), or simply by attending the Open Forum at the Annual General Meeting. Of course, a consensus position may be reached that is in disagreement with your position, but at least you will know that your view has been heard and considered.

Our organisation will gain in several ways if membership increases. There may be more individuals willing to assist, even if only for a small defined task – for example, operating the VK100WIA station for a few hours during the six months that the callsign is available, through your local club. The budget bottom line will be a little better for the organisation, which means that there is more work that can be accomplished. But most importantly, having a numerically larger organisation will make our collective voice louder.

Join up a new member soon.

Cheers, Peter VK3PF

Cover photo

The VK9NA team on Mount Pitt in January: Michael VK3KH, Alan VK3XPD and Kevin VK4UH with their 1.2 m dish and mast holding other antennas.
Photograph by Kevin Johnston VK4UH. See their story commencing on page 23.

Table Of Contents


Got the ticket, got to get the station. Ross Pittard VK3CE and Geoff Emery VK4ZPP
An Arena of Wonder, part 3. Peter Wolfenden VK3RV
Tall trees from little acorns grow. Peter Wolfenden VK3RV
VK9NA Norfolk Island VHF/UHF/microwave DXpedition. Kevin Johnston VK4UH, Alan Devlin VK3XPD, Michael Coleman VK3KH
Conference discusses amateur radio emergency communications. Jim Linton VK3PC
The WIA Centenary Committee Call for Articles. WIA Centenary Committee
International SOTA Weekend, 1-2 May 2010. Tom Read M1EYP


Multimedia computer headset adaptor with PTT for ham rigs. Ben Broadbent VK5BB
The ultimate multiband dipole. Rick Hill VK6XT
Software Defined Radio - a look at the Flex-3000. Brian Morgan VK7RR

VK9NA Norfolk Island VHF/UHF/microwave DXpedition

Kevin Johnston VK4UH, Alan Devlin VK3XPD, Michael Coleman VK3KH
This is the story of a VHF/UHF/microwave DXpedition to Norfolk Island, a new country and Maidenhead locator for most aficionados of these bands, by three amateurs keen to ensure that these bands were not forgotten in the hurly burly of the many HF DXpeditions that excite the HF bands on a regular basis.

The location was chosen as being close enough to mainland Australia, New Zealand and several south Pacific areas to be within reach of the many stations likely to be interested, but far enough away that it would create enormous interest, from a DX and propagation perspective, to ensure significant activity should conditions allow.

A very interesting read of a wonderful adventure that produced excellent outcomes.

Got the ticket, got to get the station

Ross Pittard VK3CE and Geoff Emery VK4ZPP
A bit of study, a couple of exams to cover the theory and practical applications, the receipt of the ‘ticket’ and now, on to acquiring the hardware. Been there?

This article points out the obvious, that there is a lot of equipment out in the market, not necessarily (or obviously) built for the amateur market that will do a sterling job as a piece of equipment within an amateur station – the trick is to know what you want, or need, where to look, and what to look for, or to have some fundamental understanding of what a piece of equipment, ostensibly unsuited for the amateur application, can indeed be capable.

An article designed to make the new amateur think about his hardware choices to fit not only within his budget, but area of interest.

Our historical theme for the year continues with the next part of the “Arena of Wonder – QSP” series, together with an account of the activities of students at technical schools in the early years of radio in the story “Tall trees from little acorns grow”.

Multimedia computer headset adaptor with PTT for ham rigs

Ben Broadbent VK5BB
Any amateur who engages in a lot of on air conversation, in whatever format and frequency, will realise how personal a sound his microphone will provide, given the myriad number of intangibles to be considered.

Which type we prefer, and what type of sound we prefer, is very much an individualistic choice – and in this article the author discusses just some of the possibilities to be considered with microphone type, and how you may go about building this desired piece of equipment with parts from the junkbox, or as an add on to an already pre-loved microphone.

Software Defined Radio - a look at the Flex-3000

Brian Morgan VK7RR
As all amateurs are becoming increasingly aware, software defined radio (SDR) is becoming more commonly found, and popular, as software programming, the very basis of these radios, becomes more advanced, flexible and precise.

The author is a self confessed fan of SDR and in this article talks, in a non-technical way, about his newest ‘toy’ the Flex-3000 SDR.

To those amateurs who are still not convinced of the concept, this is an interesting introduction to SDR equipment, from the perspective on an amateur now well versed in its operational techniques.

An interesting read about what will certainly be tomorrow’s technology.

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