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2013 Magazines

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Amateur Radio October 2013

Delivery expect from September 26

      WIA Member Digital Edition Download


Fact or Fiction (perhaps Friction)?

I have received one interesting Letter to the Editor (or Over to You, if you prefer) recently.

The OTY item was about the story by Steve Mahony VK5AIM published in the September issue. Readers may recall that I noted that the story was in fact fiction, interlaced with some factual possibilities.

I do not plan to publish the entire OTY item, but most of it is presented here:
“I am always excited when I receive the latest edition of the WIA journal and proceed almost immediately to flick through as to find any interesting articles.

I then tend to read an article of interest in blocks rather than all at once so I can absorb the dialog.

I was really pleased to read an article on locating a lost child using amateur radio techniques with APRS attached to a dog.

I was relaying this feat of achievement to my wife who also thought that the amateur fraternity has again been very helpful in the event of the rescue and the what must have been frantic parents of the child with the cooperation between the authority’s and the amateur operators.

Until I got to the end of the article where it said it was fiction!

The writer then presents his opinion that Amateur Radio should publish facts only, not fiction.

I fully acknowledge that everyone has the right to hold and express their opinion. If we had the space, I may even have published the writer’s entire contribution.

As Editor, I considered that Steve’s article had merit and was worthy of publication. After all, we do mainly publish factual material, but does it hurt to occasionally publish an article which others may find interesting, even if all is not factual? I received no adverse comments from Ernie VK3FM (Secretary of Publications Committee) when I sent the article through for our normal processing and registration on our tracking system. Similarly, there were no adverse comments from those who undertake the proof reading of the magazine.

In my opinion, such occasional items do have a place in this publication, provided that fiction is identified as such. I do not intend to cause friction with this informal policy. Of course, readers are welcome to let the Publications Committee know their own thoughts on this question (or any other for that matter) – simply email

High power trial decision

In this issue, we have included an update on the ACMA decision to not extend the “High power trial”. It seems that the decision has caused some considerable friction in parts of the Australian amateur community, some it in the form of OTY items.

I thank Roger Harrison VK2ZRH for preparing the article which explains the current situation.

It seems that many amateurs may not be aware of the details contained in the Apparatus Licence LCD with which we must comply, in addition to complying with the Amateur LCD.

I suspect that we will be publishing some additional articles covering the topic of electromagnetic radiation safety and compliance in coming issues. I know that several clubs have recently, or are planning to, have presentations on this topic. It is an issue of which we must all be aware and we must be able to demonstrate that our amateur station and antennas meet the compliance requirements. Perhaps all of us, if we have not yet done so, should investigate the issues further? There are links to the relevant information available on the WIA website, plus please read the VK2ZRH article in this issue.

Until next month,


Peter VK3PF

This month’s cover

The main photo shows the VK7RML repeater site on Mt. Lloyd, quite a remote location. See the VK7 News column for an update on this repeater. Photo by Hayden Honeywood VK7HA. Inset photo shows some of the internals of the homebrew 160 m AM transmitter built by Noel Ferguson VK3FI. Photo by Noel Ferguson VK3FI.

WIA President's Comment

One Year On

I can’t believe it’s now one year since I received that fateful phone call telling me that Michael Owen, VK3KI, had suddenly passed away. My initial reaction can only be described as shock, and a feeling of despair for Michael’s family with whom he was obviously very close.

Shortly after came the creeping realisation that I, as WIA Vice-President, was in the hot seat. In fact, I had shortly before told Michael that my work commitments were increasing and after 10 years as a Director it might be time for somebody else to have a go.

Michael, being his usual persuasive self, told me there was absolutely nothing to worry about:
“Vice Presidents don’t have to do anything much anyway, and I’m not planning on going anywhere”.
Thanks mate!

So, one year later, I thought it might be useful to recap where we are now, so members can decide what sort of job we have made of it since Michael’s passing.

Inevitably, a new leader brings some new directions and a different management style. Early-on it became obvious that nobody could devote the amount of time to the WIA that Michael did, so micromanagement definitely was out of the question. Very quickly the Board decided to introduce a system of functional committees comprising the many volunteers who perform the many functional activities of the WIA. That committee system is now mostly up and running, with some committees such as Radio Activities (QSLs, contests, awards etc.), Spectrum (ACMA liaison, technical, repeaters and beacons etc.), and Publications and Marketing (print media, the website and marketing etc.) being very active. More needs to be done, especially in the area of co-ordination.

One thing I find very encouraging is the number of people who have recently offered their services to the WIA, and also the number of people who stood for election as a WIA Director this year. That is indeed a sign of a vibrant organisation.

One facet of amateur radio that Michael was particularly passionate about is the international work, both through the IARU (of which he was Region 3 Chair) and also the WIA’s work with the Australian delegation to the ITU and the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (the APT). Dale Hughes VK1DSH is very ably continuing that work as Chair of the ITU Working Party which is considering the possibility of a new amateur service frequency allocation at 5 MHz.

Towards the end of Michael’s term it was obvious that the WIA needed to cut costs in order to avoid a membership fee increase during a time of economic uncertainty. Membership fee increases are inevitable, but the Board’s intent is to explore all avenues of cost savings in the first instance. To this end we introduced the MEMNET cloud-based membership management system (which has saved one part-time staff position) and the Go-to-Meeting teleconference system (which has greatly reduced Directors’ travel expenses while allowing monthly on-line Board meetings). Further savings are being made in other areas, such as the hold-over of the Club Grant Scheme for this year.

Naturally, not everything goes to plan, and this was the case with the Higher Power Trial. The WIA is quite disappointed about the ACMA decision not to proceed with a 1 kW peak power limit for Australian advanced radio amateurs, which would bring them in line with many other Western nations. But putting aside some obvious concerns about the conduct of the trial, we do accept the reality that we need to promote a greater degree of EMR awareness amongst amateur licensees.

The next year is going to be very much about further strengthening the WIA committee system, continuing the international work, and promoting EMR awareness and compliance in preparation for another go at the higher power limit.

So, would Michael be pleased? Maybe – lawyers are never 100% happy with anything, but I’m sure he would think we haven’t done too badly.

Phil Wait VK2ASD

President, WIA

PS. Dale Hughes VK1DSH has asked for as many written comments as possible about the potential benefits to amateur radio from a new 5 MHz frequency allocation. Please send your comments to the WIA as soon as possible, and let’s not have a repeat of the situation with the higher power trial when only a very small number of responses were received.

Table Of Contents


WIA Traveller’s Badge
VK0JJJ at Mawson Station, Mac Robertson Land, Antarctica Craig Hayhow VK0JJJ
A sea rescue - amateur radio emergency communications Gary Gibson VK8BN
Australian Foxhunting Championships 2013 Greg Williams VK3VT/VK3FOX
Epilogue to the High Power Trial: electromagnetic radiation safety and your station Roger Harrison VK2ZRH
WIA Comment - November 2010 Michael Owen VK3KI (SK)

A 160 metre homebrew AM transmitter project Noel Ferguson VK3FI
A high voltage power supply Dale Hughes VK1DSH

Plus all the usual Club news and columns

Epilogue to the High Power Trial: electromagnetic radiation safety and your station

Roger Harrison VK2ZRH

In this article, Roger VK2ZRH summarises the outcome of the high power trial and looks ahead at issues that are likely to be discussed in future negotiations with ACMA.

The article is followed by the Comment written by Michael Owen VK3KI (SK) on power limits, together with several OTY items expressing concerns and thoughts raised by members about the conduct of the trial assessment.

VK0JJJ at Mawson Station, Mac Robertson Land, Antarctica

Craig Hayhow VK0JJJ

Anyone who operates as a radio amateur from Macquarie Island is bound to attract attention, and almost always, quite significant attention at that.

The author found himself on Macquarie for twelve months, and this article provides some insight into the operator, and what he undertook, upon arriving on Macquarie, to set himself up for twelve months of enjoyable amateur activity.

A very interesting read.

A 160 metre homebrew AM transmitter projec

Noel Ferguson VK3FI

This article is a ‘real’ homebrewer’s delight – a basic, valve driven AM transmitter project for the 160 metre band.

Built somewhat deliberately to ‘old’ standards, although not compromised at all in terms of quality, or safety, it should create quite a bit of interest in those who enjoy building, and are perhaps looking for something basic but practical to construct.

A high voltage power supply

Dale Hughes VK1DSH

This article discusses some of the more subtle principles involved when designing and building a high voltage power supply that has many of its control features managed by a microcontroller.

The author is a well-known and extremely proficient home-brewer, and readers will soon note that it is not a project recommended for beginners and, as the author specifically notes, there is inherent potential danger in such a project, thus extreme caution, and first class construction habits are absolutely essential. Further, the design as published may need some changes dependent on the nature of one’s junk box.

A first class article and well recommended for those interested in home-brewing or thinking of a similar project.

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