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2010 Magazines

Other years

Amateur Radio September 2010

Delivery expected from September 1


Continual improvement and self education
Many workplaces promote the idea of continual improvement. Our hobby is about “self education”. How can one combine these two themes? Easy, from my perspective! You can read technical articles on the web or in a magazine such as Amateur Radio. Or you can attend a technical talk at a local club meeting.

Other events which present the opportunity to hear about several topics in a short space of time are technical conferences, such as the GippsTech Conference each July.

There are many conferences held in the US and elsewhere in the world. Many publish printed Conference Proceedings volumes, which contain lots of technical information. Some authors also publish their papers on their own websites. Recent BATC and AMSAT-UK meetings can be found as streaming video on-line.

Whilst such resources are very valuable, there is nothing like actually being at the conference/symposium. In addition to the material presented, there is also the stimulating discussion that is ignited which ensures that any coffee or lunch break is far too short. I can only recommend that readers seriously consider attending such events. To date, there have been only a few such events organised in VK, apart from the annual GippsTech conference.

For those located in South Australia and those that may be tempted to travel to Adelaide, I commend the upcoming AHARS symposium to be held on Sunday 19 September. With a full day of technical presentations and a practical demonstration of the hpsdr transceiver system, plus some historical perspective, it looks like an excellent way to spend a Sunday. From prior experience, I am aware that at least two of the speakers do an excellent job of explaining potentially difficult material at a level that most, if not all, amateurs should be able to understand. If it were not such a very long drive, I would definitely be there! Check out the club advertisement in this issue or their website at

Coming public events
Coming up in October are two key events that enable us to expose the broader community to our hobby. You need to be finalising your plans now.

In this issue, we have a report from Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) from last year. Yes, it is a long time after the event. As Editor, I decided to save this article as a reminder to all amateurs that the 2010 event is almost upon us.

If you will actually be directly involved with the youth members of either the Scout or Guide movements, your plans should be well advanced by now. If you are not directly involved, at least be aware that some of the on-air activities may not necessarily meet our usual expectations with regard to on-air conduct – after all, we will be trying to encourage youngsters to actually speak into a microphone and make conversation. As a result, procedures may be a little more “relaxed” than usually apply. We all beg your tolerance. Of course, if you hear a Scout or Guide calling with no response, please do respond to them for a brief contact – any contact will make an impression, even if they are looking for another Scout or Guide contact.

I am aware that the VK100WIA callsign will be active over the JOTA weekend – the local club here will be operating the callsign on Sunday (UTC day). I would suggest that you give all the Scout and Guide groups as much opportunity as possible to work the callsign – I am sure that the operators will be willing to work “non-JOTA” stations if JOTA contacts are scarce.

The other event is the inaugural National Field Day. The rules are published in this issue, and Michael Owen VK3KI explains some of the background in his Comment. Whilst there are rules and points to be gained, it is not really, as far as I can see, a “contest”. Some club may gain a “top score”, but they will not be the winner. If clubs and/or individuals establish and operate stations within the spirit of the event, there will be one very important winner – the hobby of amateur radio. Our profile with the public will be improved.

Hopefully, we will be better understood and we may gain new participants in our hobby.

Cheers, Peter VK3PF

Cover photo

The background picture is a ten times actual (shown here) size reproduction of one of the etched boards used to create a generic PC interface in our homebrew project this month. Part one of this explicit and expansively described project is on page 16, part two will follow next month. Photo: Paul McMahon VK3DIP

We are always in need of high quality images to be considered for use as cover photos. See the guidelines for submission on the AR pages on the WIA website.

Table Of Contents


Tune-in to the world – The 2010 WIA National Field Day Saturday 23rd October 2010.
Once upon a JOTA Ben Ramsden VK2GHZ
Deniliquin Ute Muster Robert Pope VK5TS
Welsh end of re-enactment of the First UK-Australia Press Message Jim Linton VK3PC
National Radio Event Comes Of Age Richard Begbie
Winter VHF-UHF Field Day 2010 Results
WIA Centenary Award


Is reflected power lost power? Gary Gibson VK8BN
The good, the bad and the ugly: the G5RV antenna Geoff Emery VK4ZPP and Ross Pittard VK3CE
A generic PC interface for the amateur experimenter Paul McMahon VK3DIP

Plus all the usual Club news and columns

Once upon a JOTA

Ben Ramsden VK2GHZ

This article details the JOTA weekend activities of a group of scouts and guides in the northern suburbs of Sydney.

Activities included boating, electronics, computing and radio, both ‘direct to air’ and via Echolink – and the summation would be that a good time was had by all participants.

Deniliquin Ute Muster

Robert Pope VK5TS

The author had long travelled throughout outback Australia in his profession as a professional shearer. He had also attended the Deniliquin Ute Muster in 2009.

You probably will not be surprised to realise that he treated his chosen vehicle, a ‘utility’, with great pride and respect – he did.

Along the way in this journey of life he had also developed his own passion for amateur radio, and here is where his two great loves, utilities and amateur radio, combined.

In attending the Ute Muster in 2010, he decided to enter his ute in one of the sections, and in doing so provide some additional opportunity to meet other like minded people and, maybe, to develop in them some interest in the amateur radio hobby.

The message in this short piece is fundamental – always look for every opportunity, and take every effort, to develop our hobby. Good places to do this are not always the most obvious.

A generic PC interface for the amateur experimenter (Cover Story)

Paul McMahon VK3DIP

This is part one of the author’s article detailing the planning, build and operation of a generic PC interface for the ham experimenter – with part 2 concentrating on the operational aspects of the completed unit.

This is certainly not an article for either new builders, or those who do not have a very solid grasp of both electronics and computers/computer software development, but even the reader inexperienced in all such facets will still get a feel of the scope of possibilities the interface offers, and its many capabilities, whilst those more experienced will quite possibly recognise the additional, personal wish-list scope that the interface indeed offers.

Is reflected power lost power?

Gary Gibson VK8BN

This article is a discussion on reflected power, and whether it is, in the classic definition, ‘lost’ power.

The author carried out a number of his own experiments, and relied on additional data from information published, in particular, by Walter Maxwell W2DU, and the conclusions he draws will, at the least, give many of us cause for thought and contemplation.

Read for yourself, and compare your thoughts to those of the author!

Advertisers Index

 15 ARTC
 55 Av-com
 Fly Bookshop
 13 Com-an-tena
 55 Cookson (Jackson Bros)
 55 Hamak Electrical Industries
 OBC Icom
 9 Jaycar
 55 Ludatronics
 55 Measurement
 12 TET-Emtron
 55 Tower
 8, 55 TTS
 IFC, 16 Vertex Standard (Yaesu)
 55 VKHam


Page Last Updated: Friday 27 August 2010 at 14:33 hours


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