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2012 Magazines

Other years

Delivery expected from August 23


Winter activity

The weather in the past month has definitely been very wintery, especially here in VK3. The lawns are like water-soaked sponges. There has been little progress on the many projects on the to-do list. I have been keeping an ear out for the few SOTA expeditions around Victoria, with mixed success. A combination of propagation conditions and high noise levels experienced on the HF vertical antenna has meant that I have missed more summit activations than I have worked. I had a chance to head to the hills on a week day, with the weather excellent – sunny but cool, with only a gentle wind. After a long walk to the summit of choice, the antenna was erected and the station set up. Unfortunately, propagation was against me and I only completed two contacts over about 90 minutes of calling and searching. So no SOTA points – I will need to revisit the summit for another activation attempt and hope to gain the minimum four contacts to gain the points.

I have been undertaking some planning with regards to revising some of the microwave equipment: building a more modern 10 GHz transverter is high on the list, as is finally completing some kits and integrating the various modules for a 24 GHz transverter. And of course, to chase the neighbours for some paperwork for Council approval to erect a mast or two in the yard and to finally erect some Yagis for the VHF and UHF bands for operations at home!

Welcome aboard

I am delighted to welcome Chris Chapman VK3QB and Luke Steele VK3HJ to the Amateur Radio team. Chris and Luke have jointly volunteered to undertake the collation of the DX News & Views column following the retirement of John VK4OQ. I am reliably informed that both amateurs are active in the DX scene and are held in high regard. Luke has been part of the AR proofing team since April, playing an important role in our quality control processes. Both serve on the WIA VK3 Advisory Committee. The Publications Committee (PubCom) is allowing them a “trial” run, so that the contributors can become familiar with the workload of assembling the column with its monthly deadlines and the Committee can observe their progress. I am confident that PubCom will find their work up to the mark, based on my reading of their first column.

Chris and Luke have their first column appearing in this issue and I expect that they will tell all readers a little more about themselves in upcoming issues.

New columns?

Are you involved in an aspect of our hobby which does not receive regular coverage in Amateur Radio? Do you have enough expertise to contribute an occasional column on a regular basis – not necessarily monthly? If so, then please drop me an email together with an outline of your ideas. The Publications Committee is keen to broaden the scope of topics covered in our regular columns. The frequency of the contribution is up to whoever accepts the challenge – it could be monthly, bimonthly, quarterly or even simply an occasional contribution. Each contribution should ideally be about one or two pages, including any images. As a guide, one page in the magazine is around 750 words plus one image.

Club News

I sometimes receive comments about having more Club news in AR. I would welcome more Club news, but please do not all send them in at once. We have many clubs around the country and we do not have sufficient page space for news items from them all. Readers will be aware that we have regular contributors from VK2, VK6 and VK7 who each collate a summary of news items from clubs around the state each month. This arrangement seems to work well, as any club simply needs to forward key news items to the regional scribe, who then collates the news items into a single state-wide news summary.

Of course, we can also publish items from individual clubs, as long we only have a small number of such contributions each month. So if you are from a club in either VK3 or VK4, perhaps you need to be suggesting to the relevant Advisory Committee that a scribe be sought to collate the news items for that state. Once a scribe has been found, it will then be up to the clubs in that state to provide the information to the scribe. We had a VK4 correspondent in the past, but he gave up due to the lack of incoming news! The alternate is for your own club to occasionally contribute a small story for publication.


Peter VK3PF

This month’s cover:

In this issue we have two useful items of test equipment that you can build. The cover features one of these projects – an ESR meter by Jim Tregellas VK5JST. See the story starting on page X. Background photo by Peter Freeman VK3PF, photo of the completed ESR meter by Jim Tregellas VK5JST, composite image compiled by Sergio Fontana VK3SFG.

WIA President's Comment

The WIA and Clubs

During the week I write this Comment the WIA office will be sending to the President of each affiliated club a letter from me.

So, by the time you read this, every club should have that letter.

Why write to the clubs?

We think we have a common problem.

Over the last six to 12 months there has been a marked fall-off in the number of people seeking to enter amateur radio or at least a marked fall-off in the number of exam packs that the WIA has been asked to process.

The first Foundation licence exams were conducted in October 2005, which is almost seven years ago. It was to be expected that there would be many seeking the new Foundation licence in the first few years of its availability. There was a pent-up demand, particularly as the Novice amateur qualification was seen as quite difficult. Also, as the clubs in different parts of Australia had Assessors qualified at different times, the resource to train and qualify potential amateurs was initially restricted, so that demand could not be initially met.

But the fall-off has a rather unfortunate consequence.

The WIA is bound to follow the Commonwealth’s cost recovery guidelines. Some costs associated with the examinations remain the same, whether we handle 10, 100 or 1,000 exams. The only difference is that cost is divided by either 10, 100 or 1,000 to determine the cost per exam.

So, the cost per exam of those fixed costs increases and so the cost for an exam must increase. No doubt, the more it increases the more people will argue that it all costs too much, and less people will want to be amateurs.

So, attracting new amateurs becomes important.

Promoting amateur radio and attracting new amateurs is something the clubs, particularly in regional areas, can certainly do.

But how to do it?

One of the most successful tools used during the WIA Centenary year was a Media Kit, prepared by Jim Linton. At our request Jim has updated the Kit, which now includes a basic Media Release built around any number of activities.

So, in my letter to the clubs is a hard copy of the Media Kit.

So, if a club is participating in a Field Day, or conducting an open day, or engaged in any other activity where it can seek media attention, this Kit should be very helpful.

In my letter I am telling the clubs that we will be sending a new Newsletter for clubs every two months or so. The Newsletter will have information that is of particular interest to clubs. An example, from the recent meeting of Queensland clubs in Hervey Bay is information on Scouting and amateur radio. At that meeting there was a discussion about Scouting and amateur radio. It was obvious that everyone knew a lot about amateur radio and very little about Scouting. That is the sort of information that I think will be of particular interest to clubs.

I don’t know how many times I have pointed to the importance of the clubs to the WIA and the importance of the WIA to clubs (and all amateurs).

The WIA can do things the clubs cannot do individually. It is the national organisation that can represent amateur radio, national and internationally. It is the national organisation that can manage the whole examination system.

But the clubs can do what the WIA cannot do. The club can be that social attraction that brings in potential amateurs. The club can market and promote amateur radio in its own geographic area. The club can teach and qualify the new amateur and keep and enlarge that new amateur’s interest.

These are the sort of reason that led the WIA Board to seek to enhance the link with the clubs.

In reviewing all of this we looked at another thing. How many members of a club were also members of the WIA? That is an issue that arises in a number of contexts. It arises when the premium for the public liability insurance of an affiliated club is calculated. (There is additional premium for every member of a club who is not also a member of the WIA.) It arises when we look at the number of members of the WIA who are members of a club seeking a grant under the WIA’s Club Grant Scheme.

What struck us was the extent of the differences. There are some clubs, even quite large clubs, where most of the club members are also WIA members. There are also clubs, even quite large clubs, where very few of the club members are also WIA members.

We believe that the WIA must work with the clubs, and support the clubs, even more than we are doing now.

In return, we ask that the clubs support the WIA.

We ask the clubs to encourage their members to also be members of the WIA.

The clubs and the WIA are not competitive. Rather they are synergistic.

And synergistic is exactly what I mean. “Synergistic used especially of drugs or muscles that work together so the total effect is greater than the sum of the two.”

Table Of Contents


GippsTech 2012 review Roger Harrison VK2ZRH
The vee beam antenna Rob Norman VK5SW
Fatal foil Steve Mahony VK5AIM
Why an amateur radio club station... in your school? Peter Allen VK4HOY
Friedrichshafen 2012 Keith Bainbridge VK6RK
Flying high with ALARA John Fisher VK3DQ
Wally Hannam: First Secretary of the WI of NSW Tim Mills VK2ZTM


76 GHz and 122 GHz in a single transverter Alan Devlin VK3XPD
An ESR meter for electrolytic capacitors Jim Tregellas VK5JST
The RF Porta-Test – a portable tester for the radio experimenter Peter Parker VK3YE

Plus all the usual Club news and columns

The vee beam antenna

Rob Norman VK5SW

In this article, the author describes how to build a simple multiband vee beam antenna using just wire and a few simple bits and pieces.

The straightforward construction details are described, and a number of photos give the reader a good appreciation of the finished product.

Why an amateur radio club station... in your school?

Peter Allen VK4HOY

The author works as a vocational specialist in a special school and briefly, albeit very proudly, and with significant enthusiasm describes the benefits that are available to students and others when they are introduced to amateur radio through the creation of an amateur radio club actually within the school environment.

This is one of those short articles that surely make all amateurs very proud of their hobby.

An ESR meter for electrolytic capacitors

Jim Tregellas VK5JST

The author, Jim Tregellas VK5JST, is among a small group of VK amateur radio authors from who the reader can expect a degree of excellence in every article they present.

This one is no exception, and those interested in either building per se, or just a higher level of technical experimentation will enjoy the detail provided by the author on why the need for such an instrument, and the detail given in how to plan and fabricate the unit.

Perhaps not for the faint of heart – but certainly a good read for all.

76 GHz and 122 GHz in a single transverter

Alan Devlin VK3XPD

This is an article covering the ‘leading edge’ of SHF operation, a part of the spectrum visited by remarkably few amateurs but that, nonetheless, is becoming increasingly popular because of the rapid gains in technology, and its application on hardware necessary for operation at these frequencies.

The author is one of the leading exponents of operation at UHF and above, and this article describes how a national distance record was created using the highest RF frequency currently ever used in this country by amateurs.

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Files For Download

Erratum: An ESR meter for Electrolytic Capacitors by Jim Tregellas VK5JST
Erratum An ESR meter for Electrolytic Capacitors by Jim Tregellas VK5JST.pdf

Page Last Updated: Thursday 23 August 2012 at 21:26 hours


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