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Amateur Radio July 2013

Delivery expect from June 27

      WIA Member Digital Edition Download


A trip to New Zealand

Some time ago, I received an invitation from our President, Phil Wait VK2ASD, to attend the Annual General Meeting of the NZART – our sister society in New Zealand – as a representative of the WIA. I am not aware of the reasons behind the invitation, but I was honoured to be asked. Also to attend was Geoff Atkinson VK3TL/VK3AFA, who is the WIA IARU Region 3 Liaison Officer. One suspects that perhaps part of the reason for the Board to ask the two of us to attend on behalf of WIA was the timing of the NZART meeting – only one week after the WIA Conference in Fremantle.

Shortly after accepting the invitation, I received the latest issue of Break In, the magazine of NZART. In the Editorial, John Walker ZL3IB indicated that he would be unable to attend the Conference. One opportunity was thus not going to eventuate.

We departed Melbourne just after 0900 on Friday 31 May to arrive in Wellington mid-afternoon local time. We were met at the airport by the husband of the NZART Business Manager, who then drove us to Masterton, the conference venue – a drive of two hours.

After registration, we placed our bags in our rooms and freshened up prior to meeting the NZART Council, who had been meeting for most of the day. We were then invited out to a local venue for dinner.

Saturday was fairly full on, with the NZART AGM taking all morning and well into the afternoon. The President had indicated that he thought that the meeting may close early, given the business needing attention. I asked if Council members were aware of any activity or interest regarding SOTA in ZL and offered a short presentation, if they wished. The result was that I gave a 15-20 minute presentation at the end of the AGM, which meant that I was peppered with questions for the rest of the weekend. It looks as if there may be some developments on the SOTA front in ZL over the coming months.

Saturday evening was the Conference dinner, with Geoff and I each receiving a small token of appreciation for our efforts in attending the event.

Sunday was taken up mainly with a series of Annual General Meetings of various groups and a series of presentations on various topics. Geoff and I attended different talks and learnt some new information. Needless to say, we have many issues, interests and concerns in common.

Sunday evening was a social dinner with a quiz. The quiz was heavily weighted to two topics on which we had little knowledge – telecommunication (mainly telephone systems) history in Masterton, and the television show Coronation Street. We coped better on the broader questions! But it was an interesting evening.

On Monday morning we packed, checked out and then attended the rest of the Council meeting. Several issues of mutual interest were discussed, including discussion on matters relating to magazines and other publications. The meeting closed at around 1140, just in time for us to join our driver for the trip back to Wellington for the flight home.

Thanks to Geoff for his company and discussions, to the NZART for their support and interactions, and the WIA for the opportunity to attend as ambassadors.

WIA Conference and awards

I was pleasantly surprised when I listened to the local Sunday evening broadcast of WIA News on Sunday 26 May – I learnt that I had been awarded the Higginbotham Award for contributions to amateur radio for my work as AR Editor and also for my unbroken leadership of GippsTech since its inception in 1998. I thank the Board and all concerned for this honour.

Articles and photographs

Our stock of articles, both Technical and General, is reducing. Please do consider writing up your latest project or interesting activity – others are sure to be interested in reading about your activities. It may take a few months before the article appears in print, but we rarely reject an article. You can find guidance on how to write for AR on the magazine pages on the WIA web site – look under: “For Members”, then “AR magazine”.

We are also looking for high quality images to use on the cover of AR and also the Callbook. Images must be of good technical quality, taken in high resolution and be of a subject matter of broad interest to amateurs. You can send any contributions to:

Until next month….


Peter VK3PF

This month’s cover

Our cover shows a view of the Peel Amateur Radio Group Communications Trailer set up at the Shipwreck Galleries (WA Museum) as part of the WIA Conference 2013 activities. Photo by Bill Rose VK6WJ.

WIA President's Comment

Our Man in Geneva

The Swiss Tourist Bureau describes Geneva as “super sleek, slick and cosmopolitan”.. “a gem of a city superbly strung around the sparkling shores of Europe’s largest Alpine lake”... “a place where people chatter in every language under the sun and 200-odd top-dog governmental and non-governmental international organisations meter out world affairs with astonishing precision and authority”.

Dale Hughes VK1DSH was our man in Geneva for about 10 days in May, sitting through many meetings at the complex organisation that is the International Telecommunications Union; the ITU, a specialist agency of the United Nations where delegates from various administrations and ITU sector members attended those meetings to present their views on agenda items that affect world radiocommunications and telecommunications, including the amateur service.

Dale’s colleagues included Tim Ellam VE6SH (IARU President), Bryan Rawlings VE3QN (Canada), Colin Thomas G3PSM (UK), Brennan Price N4QX (US), Ken Yamamoto JA1CJP (Japan), Ulrich Mueller DK4VW (Germany) and Hans Blondel-Timmerman PB2T (Netherlands).

After ten days of tireless meetings, it’s not surprising that Dale had a slightly different take on Geneva. His regular progress reports to the WIA were splattered with words like “drizzley, bleak and cold” interspersed with “slow, difficult, and endless”.

Others seemed to be impressed, however, so much so that Dale was appointed Chair of the ITU Working Group 5A.1 which deals with ‘Land mobile service above 30 MHz (excluding IMT); wireless access in the fixed service; and amateur and amateur-satellite services, and is considering a possible new secondary allocation to the amateur service between 5250 and 5450 kHz. Other work undertaken by WG5A.1 is the on-going revision and review of ITU recommendations and reports that are relevant to the amateur service.

Work on the 5 MHz issue is slow and complex, with diverse views and contributions from the member States. The IARU and the administrations of Canada, China, Russia and the United States of America made contributions. There was also a combined contribution from the administration of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, Norway and the Netherlands.

Dale’s working group has produced a number of working documents which attempt to characterise possible amateur service operation around 5300 kHz, and the effect it might have on other existing in-band and adjacent band radio services.

Other work undertaken by various ITU working groups during this block of meetings includes:
• Work to finalise modifications to the ITU Amateur Service Handbook, chaired by Colin Thomas G3PSM. The Amateur Service Handbook contains information about amateur bands, operating modes, propagation etc. and provides information to national administrations which is used in managing their amateur frequency allocations. The Russian Federation proposed an excellent and extensive list of useful modifications and clarifications to the existing Handbook.
• Compatibility issues between amateur radio and vehicle collision avoidance radars at 77.5-78 GHz. The amateur service has primary status in this frequency band at present; however these short range radar systems already operate successfully in Australia and global harmonisation is likely.
• The possible extension of the frequency band used by the Earth Exploration Satellite Service. It is possible that the 3 cm amateur band will be affected by this proposal. If the agenda item is successful then there may be intermittent and transient interference to amateur 3 cm communications when the EESS satellite is in range, otherwise no other significant problems are expected.
• BPL/PLT issues were addressed including the specification for the spectrum mask which notches HF amateur bands and critical frequencies.

Although their various national positions may not always be in complete agreement, the amateur representatives work well together in advancing the amateur service. As Dale states “It’s worth remembering that while the process seems slow and torturous, the end result is an International Treaty which affects the legislation underpinning the operation of all radio services in all member countries of the International Telecommunications Union.”

All radio amateurs worldwide benefit from the ITU work, and the IARU has agreed to pay half of Dale’s travel expenses while Dale is both representing Australia and acting in his capacity as Chair of the Working Group.

The next round of ITU meetings is again in Geneva in November followed by May 2014. In addition, Dale has been attending the meetings of the Asia Pacific Telecommunity, where much important discussion takes place about regional issues and voting blocks tend to form.

The international work is one of the most important and expensive areas of WIA activity, though it goes largely unseen by members. In the past, Dale assisted Keith Malcolm VK1KM, but Keith tragically passed away about two years ago and Dale immediately took up the reigns.

Preparation and attendance at these meetings is a big ask for just one person, and Dale has so far been very gracious with his time. Clearly, that cannot go on forever and we need to find some assistance for Dale, at least with the preparation and as an understudy.

If you have had experience in this type of work, especially if you have worked for the ACMA or an international agency or delegation, we would very much like to hear from you.

Finally, we need to gather information about the potential usage of a 5300 kHz amateur assignment. The WIA is also keen to hear any views you may have about the proposed allocation around 5300 kHz and how it may assist you in your radio communications activities.

Phil Wait VK2ASD

In this magazine you will find information about the recent WIA AGM held in Perth, which proved to be a great success. The results of the recent election for WIA Directors were announced at the AGM, and those results have also been published. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the three new Directors and to also very sincerely thank the retiring Directors for their efforts over the last few years, especially over the difficult period following the passing of Michael Owen VK3KI.

Phil Wait VK2ASD

Table Of Contents


2013 WIA AGM and Conference report Bob Bristow VK6POP & Onno Benschop VK6FLAB
In the right place at the right time Terry Murphy VK3UP
You never know what will happen on 40 metres Andrew Davis VK2UH/VK1DA
The best AR transceiver Steve Mahony VK5AIM
MEMNET – Going Live John Longayroux VK3PZ
Balloon Chase Liz Billiau VK2XSE
Views from the WIA Conference


Foundation licence Graeme Scott VK2KE
Elecraft KX1 - an outstanding rig for field operations Grant McDuling VK4JAZ
A 4:1 Guanella balun using readily available parts Paul Murtagh VK3AFB

Plus all the usual Club news and columns

2013 WIA AGM and Conference report

Bob Bristow VK6POP & Onno Benschop VK6FLAB

Our authors, also key organisers, give a run down on the 2013 WIA AGM and Conference, held in late May in Fremantle.

See also the centre pages and the inside back cover for more views of events.

In the right place at the right time PLUS You never know what will happen on 40 metres

Terry Murphy VK3UP; Andrew Davis VK2UH/VK1DA

Terry VK3UP happened to be active in the Mt Disappointment area when he was advised that a trail bike rider had been involved in an accident, was injured and needed assistance.

He immediately went to the site of the accident, ascertained the issues and, being out of mobile phone range, used the amateur 40 metre band to garner assistance.

What unfolded makes for very interesting reading – and is well recommended as an example of how amateur radio can still achieve outcomes beyond the reach even of our professional emergency service responders.

Andrew VK2UH/VK1DA happened to be on 40 metres, preparing for an afternoon of SOTA ‘point chasing’ when he heard a station call in with a medical emergency.

In responding to this call a very interesting tale of emergency service participation unfolded – and is one that will interest practically all amateurs as the benefit of amateur radio and its ability to communicate when many others cannot was never better illustrated.

And in its telling, exposed a few flaws in our professional emergency preparedness.

Elecraft KX1 - an outstanding rig for field operations

Grant McDuling VK4JAZ

This article provides a short story of one amateur’s purchase of a kit transceiver, and how it all went together prior to his initial usage of the unit.

Not a long feature, or terribly complicated, but interesting, in part, because of the author’s enthusiasm for what he had purchased and its resultant performance.

A 4:1 Guanella balun using readily available parts

Paul Murtagh VK3AFB

This short article is a response to one published recently in Amateur Radio and is the result of similar work done by the author in respect to ascertaining the optimum feed point impedance for use with a 4:1 balun.

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