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2012 Magazines

Other years

Delivery expected from July 26


Any plans for May 2013?

Yes, it is still a long way off as far as time is concerned, but the 2013 WIA Annual Conference planning is underway. I am sure that we will have more details later in the year as the planning continues. Readers should be aware that the venue has been announced as Perth in Western Australia.

Onno VK6FLAB whets your appetite this month and urges you to consider making plans early. For many, the long trip to the western shores of our continent may be made worthwhile by planning other trips and activities before and/or after the conference. Start thinking now!

GippsTech 2012 a success

The Eastern Zone Amateur Radio Club Inc. has recently held their fifteenth annual amateur radio technical conference at Churchill in Gippsland, Victoria. Over 100 amateurs and several partners attended and all thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. The event is based around the sharing of information concerning weak signal communications, with an emphasis on the VHF, UHF and microwave bands.

The technical program had 18 presentations this year. The topics can be seen at the club website – – together with links contained within the various presentations.

The partners travelled around Gippsland in a mini bus, driven by Damian VK3CT and guided by Pauline Corrigan. From what I have heard, they had a ball.

Now that the event is over, all involved in organising the details can relax a little before they start thinking about the 2013 event next July.

A big month ahead

August is a big month in VK. In addition to all the regular activities, we have a number of very popular events.

For many, the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend (ILLW) sees small groups travelling to a near, or not so near, lighthouse for a weekend of fellowship and radio fun. Many choose to hire accommodation at the light station and set up antennas and radio stations inside the venue, allowing for comfortable operating conditions – an important consideration in the southern parts of the country. It is not a competition, rather a friendly weekend where the aim is to work stations at other lighthouses and lightships. Will you be joining in the fun on 18/19 August? The ILLW web site shows 51 stations planning to be active, so there should be plenty of lighthouses on air locally to work.

On the contest front, we see the Remembrance Day (RD) contest on the weekend of 11/12 August and the ALARA Contest on 25/26 August. Traditionally these are both popular events in VK, perhaps due to the fact that both promote operators to have a more relaxed, friendly approach. The ALARA Rules were published in the July issue of AR, with the RD rules published in this issue. Good luck to all participating – don’t forget to submit your log!


We finally have some news of the new arrangements for Yaesu equipment in Australia and New Zealand. The advertisement on the Inside Front Cover gives details of the authorised dealers and service centres.

News of new models of radios are now filtering out, after announcements made at the large “hamfests” overseas – the Dayton Hamfest in May and the Ham Radio Friedrichshafen. Some new models appear to be only mock-ups or prototypes, with the radios not slated for release until later in the year at the earliest.
As someone interested in software defined radios, it was interesting to read the details on-line from Flex Radio of the upcoming Flex 6000 series.

One project which has significant input from Australia is the High Performance Software Defined Radio (HPSDR) project, which has links with TAPR and AMSAT, with Phil VK6APH playing a leading role. The HPSDR team displayed the new Hermes single board SDR transceiver, which has been undergoing extensive beta testing. Hermes looks to be very interesting. One company in India is now advertising for expressions of interest in orders for a very neat case and 10 W amplifier designed to match Hermes. Although the system will have only 10 W output power, the performance of the rest of the transceiver looks to be excellent. TAPR are taking orders for Hermes until July 25, after which it can be ordered from Apache Labs.

Cover photos and Articles

We currently have very few photographs of adequate quality for future magazine covers. Remember to take a camera on your radio activities and to take some photos – you might have a potential cover shot! Remember to set your camera to take the images at the highest possible resolution. In these days of predominantly digital photography, memory is cheap and it is very simple to save the high resolution file to a new name and smaller resolution if you wish to email them to friends. However, you cannot go the other way – from low resolution (small file size) to higher resolution.

Our stock of articles is also much smaller than in recent years. We have only two articles that have been in our review and production system for more than 12 months and they will probably be published in the September issue. We need both Technical and General articles, preferably with some good images.

Goodbye and Thanks

As you will read in this issue, John Bazley VK4OQ has contributed his last DX - News and Views column. John has been contributing for the last seven years. He has gathered information about the DX scene from a wide range of sources and has as a result kept readers informed and as up to date as is possible with a print publication. Today’s DXer will probably be using the various electronic resources that are available, but that does not diminish the importance of the written material presented by John’s column of this extended period.

As I prepare this Editorial, we have not identified anyone to fill the hole left by John’s retirement. Anyone interested in taking up the reigns can contact either myself or the Publications Committee Secretary Ernie Walls VK3FM.

Many thanks for your long service John. Hopefully you can work a little more DX now that this task is removed from your “to do” list.


The Publications Committee has noticed that many tributes (Silent Key notices) received have tended to become major items. Whilst it can be interesting to read of past activities of deceased amateurs, we request that you try to keep these contributions to around 250 to 300 words and perhaps one photograph.
Yes, we do occasionally publish much longer tributes, but usually only for those who have made a very significant contribution to the hobby.

The Secretary of Publications Committee will return any contributions of SK notices which are too long and ask the contributor to précis the item so that it falls within the guidelines. Please do not take offence when this occurs – he is acting under instructions from the Committee.

Until next month,


Peter VK3PF

Cover caption:

This month our cover shows the Bathurst Lighthouse, Rottnest Island, WA. Rottnest Island is a short ferry ride from Fremantle and a popular destination. See the promotional story about the 2013 WIA Annual Conference, to be held in Perth in May next year. It is time to start planning! Photo courtesy of Tourism Western Australia.

WIA President's Comment

The band 420 – 430 MHz

Rather than just republish the release on this topic that we placed on the WIA website, I thought it better to make this the subject of the Comment for this issue of Amateur Radio. That way I can add a little more information.

Internationally, the 420 – 430 MHz part of the Australian 70 cm amateur band exists by a footnote allocating the band on a secondary basis to amateur only in the USA, Jamaica, the Philippines and Australia. The 420 – 430 MHz band is allocated throughout the world to fixed and mobile (except aeronautical mobile) as primary, with radiolocation secondary.

I do not know the history of that segment, but that allocation and the footnote were the same 30 years ago.

In fact, use of that segment 420 to 430 MHZ in Australia has been restricted to Advanced licensees and further restricted by various exclusion zones in NSW, the ACT, and the Jervis Bay area, Sydney, Perth and Melbourne. This band segment is mainly used for fixed point to point links for inter-linking of amateur repeaters and an ATV input/output channel.

In April 2008 the WIA reported on the public consultation by the ACMA as part of its review of the band 403 – 520 MHz, which included the amateur 420 – 450 MHz band segment and which could obviously be affected.

Fairly early on, the band segment 430 – 450 MHz was announced to be “out of scope” for the ACMA review, though the ACMA indicated that segment 440-450 MHz may be used on a temporary basis by displaced land mobile services during a transition phase until they are relocated.

In September 2008 the WIA reported on the release of the submissions received by the ACMA as part of its review of the 403 – 520 MHz band and in June 2010 the WIA further reported on the ACMA’s announcements.

An examination of the WIA 70 cm Band Plan shows that the segment 420 – 430 MHz is largely “Restricted”.

The primary users of the band 420 – 430 MHz are radiolocation and mobile.

Major mobile users are various government networks supporting the police, fire and ambulance services that provide a high social value to the community. In recent years the need for the interoperability and harmonisation of those services has been very obvious, and since 2009 a result supported by the Council of Australian Governments.

It was hardly a great surprise when a few weeks ago the ACMA advised the WIA that the 420 to 430 MHz segment of the 70 cm amateur band will be withdrawn as a secondary allocation, at least for general amateur use, from 1st January 2013.

Unfortunately the withdrawal of the segment 420 – 430 MHz of the 70 cm band does present one problem.

There are a number of repeater link assignments that will need to be moved by 1st January2013. There are some 34 licensees affected, mainly clubs, involving at least 73 separate assignments.

In addition to those 73 amateur repeater links there are a further 33 amateur repeater links in that segment that may be able to operate beyond the 1st January 2013 date and the WIA is currently negotiating with the appropriate parties. When the matter is clarified, the WIA will also be in contact with the relevant licensees.

Until that uncertainty is resolved, we can at least say that after 1 January 2013, the band 420 – 430 MHZ will no longer be available as a secondary allocation for general amateur use.

On a worst case scenario something over 100 assignments may be required to be moved by 1 January next. However, it is expected these can be relocated to the 430 – 450 MHz region.

While the ACMA will be formally writing to the affected licensees, the WIA has undertaken to contact each licensee as soon as it is able to do so, to ascertain whether there are any special difficulties in moving and to ensure that the WIA frequency coordination service is available to assist as required.

Clearly all of this will impose a heavy load on the WIA Repeater and Beacon Coordinator, as the ACMA will not issue amended licences for new allocations without the WIA’s prior amateur coordination.

Accordingly the WIA Board has decided to appoint Richard Cerveny VK2AAH as Joint National Repeater and Beacon Coordinator with Peter Mill VK3APO, on the basis that Richard will take primary responsibility for the work associated with the relocation of stations in the 420 – 430 MHz segment.

I hope that by the time this issue of Amateur Radio is published, all the licensees affected will have been contacted, and will be planning their action in response.

Table Of Contents


ALARA International Meet – The trip from Adelaide to Darwin Margaret Blight VK3FMAB
Bill Williams VK3WE, featuring explosions, floods, fire, printer’s ink and RF Keith Williams
The WIA Archive Peter Wolfenden VK3RV
SOTA adventures in the Grampians Ron Cook VK3AFW
2013 WIA AGM and Conference in VK6 Onno Benschop VK6FLAB
Air travel with radios - An air traveller’s tale that almost ended in tears Peter Ellis VK1PE
WICEN in Tasmania sets the bar at a new height Roger Nichols VK7ARN
Gridsquare Standings at 15 June 2012 Guy Fletcher VK2KU


A multipurpose two channel 433 MHz remote control John Hewson VK3HW
How to tune your 20 metre band antennas to the 12 metre band Rainer Gruening WG2L – ex DL2PC
The ‘Match 22’ – a micro antenna coupler for portable use Peter Parker VK3YE
The Blob Board 500 mW CW transmitter Nic Chantler VK3COW and Alan Simpson VK4AAE

Plus all the usual Club news and columns

ALARA International Meet – The trip from Adelaide to Darwin

Margaret Blight VK3FMAB

The recent and very successful ALARA International Meet in Adelaide featured, as a ‘finale’, a trip from Adelaide to Darwin for those participants who chose to include it in their Meet itinerary.

This is the story of that ‘finale’, and will quickly confirm it as being a quality trip with lots of activities to complement the wonderful camaraderie that had been developed by all the participants.

SOTA adventures in the Grampians

Ron Cook VK3AFW

First there was IOTA (Islands on the Air).

It became apparent that not all amateurs who enjoyed amateur radio and adventure could do so at some far flung IOTA destination, even though qualifying islands in many parts of the world, for example throughout Europe, were plentiful and not too difficult or expensive to reach and thus, more or less, was SOTA (Summits on the Air) born.

SOTA qualifies summits, of mountains or even quite modest hills, as distinct ‘entities’, the majority capable of activation with little travel, modest stations and in time periods often running only to a few hours. The activity is quickly spreading through the amateur world.

Hence this most interesting story of one amateur’s activation of two VK3 summits whilst enjoying a short break from a return trip from Adelaide to Melbourne.
See just how easy it can be – noting though that some operating skills, good planning and a plentiful determination are skills still likely to ensure success more often than not.

A multipurpose two channel 433 MHz remote control

John Hewson VK3HW

This is a short article on the development and construction of a remote control unit to control a model boat, but that may also be used to direct his fox hunting antenna or, indeed, any number of applications requiring remote control functionality.

Not a long or complicated article, but interesting reading for a very practical piece of equipment.

The ‘Match 22’ – a micro antenna coupler for portable use

Peter Parker VK3YE

This is a short article on how to build a portable antenna tuner for low power, multi-band and portable use.

It is a task highly suitable for those with a Foundation level technical experience but who are also interested in developing their homebrewing skills.

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Page Last Updated: Friday 27 July 2012 at 16:21 hours


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