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2012 Magazines

Other years

Delivery expected from February 23


Your magazine (and your WIA)

Some might consider that Amateur Radio (AR) is simply the printed face of the WIA. As Editor, I prefer to consider AR to be your magazine.

Why do I take this view? Mainly because AR contains content provided primarily by readers – that means you. Yes, we usually have about four or five pages of material that comes from the WIA, if you include my editorial, plus the Contents and the WIA Directory. That leaves almost 50 pages of other content, which comes from either regular contributors (our columns and club news items) or articles submitted for publication.

There has recently been some discussion on a particular on-line forum regarding the comparative value of WIA versus ARRL membership. The discussion thread started with a simple statement expressing the view that ARRL membership was good value, primarily due to the receipt of QST magazine. Some of the comments make for interesting reading. Part of the thread drifted to comment about the type and technical quality of articles presented in AR.

It was pleasing to see that several contributors responded that there was a simple solution to the lack of technical content – write something and submit an article for publication. All should take a moment to consider the situation here in VK: the Publications Committee is made up of volunteers. The WIA is primarily run by volunteers, with a small paid staff running the office with volunteer support. We have a very small membership compared to that of the ARRL. As a result, the WIA budget has constraints and the AR budget is similarly constrained.

Earlier this week I received my copy of QST – yes I am a member of ARRL, primarily to receive QST and QEX (a separate subscription). Excluding the covers, QST had 160 pages, of which 74 pages were advertisements, leaving 86 pages for all the other content. The high advertising content means higher income to support the magazine, as does the large number of subscribers. That higher advertising content comes to the magazine because of the size of the circulation. I therefore argue that those making the comments in the discussion thread are forgetting these important differences – they are not comparing apples with apples.

I will not discuss here the thoughts expressed by some on that forum regarding the cost of WIA membership, other than to say that those individuals apparently have blinkers in place restricting their field of view. Will some of them be applying to operate with 1 kW transmit power? Do they appreciate the work done at the recent World Radio Conference to protect our band allocations and operating privileges? If our privileges were reduced, I suspect that many would be jumping up and down expressing their thoughts; probably blaming the WIA for not doing a good enough job.

It is all too easy to sit on the side-lines and to cast stones, but such action rarely yields positive results. It is far more productive to become directly involved – nominate to become a member of an Advisory Committee, put your views to the Open Forum, write some “Over to You” letters for publication in AR, undertake one of the many voluntary roles if you think that you can do a better job. If you are not a member, join the WIA and express your thoughts about what can be done better and/or volunteer to assist in some way. If you want to read more technical articles in AR, either write some articles yourself or convince someone with the appropriate knowledge to do so. Or at least make the suggestion to me that a particular topic needs to be covered and I can attempt to find someone to write an article.

After all, it is your magazine.

Coming soon

I note that a new hand-held radio features on the back cover this month – the Icom ID-31A. I have just received one of these units and hope to have a review prepared in the near future.

Of course, we would welcome objective review articles on any item of equipment related to our hobby – if you think that you may have something of interest, let me know and get those fingers working on the keyboard.


Peter VK3PF

This month’s cover

Our cover this month shows Terry Murphy VK3UP in his shack. Terry was very involved in activating the VK100ARV callsign during the ARV Centenary celebrations, both from home and portable in the Brisbane Ranges National Park. The inset photo shows Luke VK3HJ busy with the CW key during one of his sessions using the special callsign. See the story on page 6. Photo by Terry Murphy VK3UP.

WIA President's Comment

The International Monitoring System

In the middle of a WRC, the focus of all IARU attention, it must seem strange to talk of the IARU Monitoring System as being an important function of the IARU and one that should be supported by the national societies in each country.

In Australia we used to call the activity the much more descriptive “Intruder Watch”, but the WIA has now followed the IARU and calls it the Monitoring System.

Most of us vaguely know it is an activity directed to seeking the removal of non-amateur stations from the exclusive amateur bands.

Why is it important?

To answer that one has to go to the ITU’s Radio Regulations, in effect the treaty between nations that governs in detail the use of the radio spectrum.

Article 4 of the ITU Radio Regulations, the General Rules relating to the assignment and use of frequencies, provides:
4.4 Administrations of the Member States shall not assign to a station any frequency in derogation of either the Table of Frequency Allocations in this Chapter or the other provisions of these Regulations, except on the express condition that such a station, when using such a frequency assignment, shall not cause harmful interference to, and shall not claim protection from harmful interference caused by, a station operating in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, the Convention and these Regulations.

An administration does not have to assign its stations frequencies in accordance with the Table of Frequency Allocations so long as its stations do not cause harmful interference to a station operating in accordance with the Radio Regulations. Accordingly, if amateur stations suffer harmful interference they must complain, because until the administration knows that its station is causing harmful interference to stations operating in accordance with the Radio Regulations it can take the position that it is not in breach of the Radio Regulations.

It is one of the few activities apart from its role in the WRC process that many argue is an essential IARU role.

For many years the IARU has maintained the International Monitoring System, relying on the three Regional organisations appointing Regional Monitoring System (MS) Coordinators, who in turn collated the reports of the Coordinators in each national member society, who in turn collated the reports of the observers in their country. All of this was intended to work under the guidance of an International MS Coordinator.

In fact, there has not been an International MS Coordinator for many years, each Region had different methods and procedures and the processes established by the Administrative Council to facilitate inter-regional communication were to say the least bureaucratic and ineffective and were effectively ignored.

There is no doubt that the IARU Region 1 MS, under the leadership of Coordinator Wolf Hadel DK2OM and Vice Coordinator Ulrich Bihlmayer DJ9KR has set the standard for the regional monitoring systems, with a technically up to date and really useful website and methods and procedures that really work.

If you look at the IARU Region 3 website, you will find that it is still using a 1988 Manual, though under the leadership of IARU Region 3 MS Coordinator Peter Young VK3MV the MS has been operating effectively and collaborating efficiently with the other Regional coordinators.

The IARU Region 3 Directors raised the issue at the last IARU Region 3 Conference in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2009.

The MS became the major work of the Conference, with the member societies seeing advantage in a more truly global system, identifying a number of areas where they considered a common approach was desirable and referred the matter to the Administrative Council of the IARU.

The Administrative Council is comprised of the IARU Officers and two representatives from each of the three IARU Regional organisations, IARU Regions 1, 2 and 3, and is the peak policy organ of the IARU.

The Administrative Council has now agreed on a very new approach.

It has given away the idea of an International Coordinator and the complex process for inter-regional communication and replaced it with the much simpler and totally logical structure of a single Monitoring System Committee comprised of each of the three Regional MS Coordinators and the President of the IARU, or his nominee.

By the general Resolution establishing the IARU Monitoring System and the Terms of Reference of the Monitoring System Committee the Committee will be responsible for the establishment of a single worldwide website, based on the Region 1 website, establishing common methods of communication and reporting and the preparation of appropriate training material.

Indeed, it has all started, with the IARU President communicating with the three Regional MS Coordinators, the Monitoring System Committee starting its work.

That all sounds very well, but is it all worth the effort? Is anyone going to take any notice, anyway?

Simply collating reports of harmful interference from stations not operating in accordance with the Radio Regulations does not achieve much.

The way it is all meant to work is that the national society in the country of the intruder goes to its administration and asks its administration to stop the interference.

And that is what happens in a number of cases.

But in other cases, the national society may not wish to do that. But other administrations may be prepared, once they have confirmed the reports provided by the national MS Coordinator, to approach the administration of the station causing the interference.

The new Monitoring System Committee with ultimately one method of reporting, with better coordination and focus and a single source of current information, should make this important task more attractive and more meaningful and attract new observers and in the end provide more credible observations and a better focussed approach to removing “intruders”.

No, it doesn’t always work.

But if we don’t complain, who will?

Doing nothing is not an option.

Table Of Contents


The Centenary not to be forgotten Jim Linton VK3PC
VK3BAD at Cape Liptrap for the ILLW 2011 John Fisher VK3DQ/VK3ARK
Strengthening the Foundations: How amateur radio enhances a marriage Rananda Rich VK2FRAR & Alex Taverner VK2RZ


The evolution of a communications trailer (or mobile shack) Lino Rizio VK3EI
Our Noisy World Bill Isdale VK4IS
Salvaging parts: what to take and how to use it Peter Parker VK3YE
Tunnels in the sky? Joseph Kasser G3ZCZ, VK5WU and 9V1CZ
A one metre diameter magnetic loop for 14 MHz Jim Tregellas VK5JST

Plus all the usual Club news and columns

The Centenary not to be forgotten

Jim Linton VK3PC

The author was heavily involved personally in the planning of these celebrations, and in this article tells of the success of a number of activities held throughout the formal celebration period.

This was a celebration that all Australian amateurs could be proud to have achieved, and the article indicates that those who participated certainly were proud to be involved.

Strengthening the Foundations: How amateur radio enhances a marriage

Rananda Rich VK2FRAR & Alex Taverner VK2RZ

This is the second of a pair of articles by this author, and essentially ‘follows-up’ the first where, having gained a modest interest in amateur radio in the first article, the author finds herself at the local radio club for a Foundation Licence exam session, and passes.

The piece is written with a tad of cleverly embedded humour, and really describes a life experience (that amateur radio can strengthen a marriage) that just happened to include our hobby as the featured subject.

A pleasant and interesting read, from an author who is now one of us.

Salvaging parts: what to take and how to use it

Peter Parker VK3YE

This is an article for the constructor types among us, those who are usually crouched across the workbench, soldering iron in one hand, long nose pliers in the other, creating yet another electronic ‘wonder’ piece for their already impressive collection.

The article is basic, full of common sense, and will assist mostly those who are just starting along this route within the hobby.

But everyone can take something from the advice offered.

A one metre diameter magnetic loop for 14 MHz

Jim Tregellas VK5JST

The author follows up on his recent article on building an 80 metre magnetic loop antenna for the attic – this time using the same design theory to build a similar loop antenna for the 20 metre band, a structurally easier task but, otherwise, retaining most of the challenges of the larger antenna.

In his meticulous way the author describes how to go about the fabrication of the antenna, and optimising it for peak performance.

Excellent photos, and very detailed drawings, support the article.

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Page Last Updated: Sunday 19 February 2012 at 11:13 hours


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