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2016 Magazines

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Amateur Radio May 2016

Delivery expected from 28 April

      WIA Member Digital Edition Download


A busy few weeks

The past three weeks have been busy here with radio activity.

I have been slowly moving forward on the conversion of a 3.4 GHz commercial panel transceiver to an amateur 3.4 GHz transverter. These panels were sourced via the Geelong Amateur Radio Club – you may have seen reference to the project in their Club news. The panel conversion is moving forward slowly as the task has been interrupted by other radio undertakings.

Perhaps most significant of these involves the use of an IC-7300 over the past three weeks. Just prior to Easter, I received a call from Icom Australia advising that the first shipment of radios had arrived. Would I like to pick up a radio to assess, or should they arrange to have the radio shipped to me? I quickly decided to make the trip to Melbourne to take delivery direct at the Icom office. By late Wednesday afternoon, the radio was up and running on the workbench.

Unfortunately, the radio been returned! But we plan to have the review completed in time for inclusion in the June issue.

I also spent three days travelling to East Gippsland to activate some Parks and SOTA summits. Fortunately, the weather was largely cooperative, except for some light rain on Saturday afternoon. I made seven activations, with six VKFF references and three SOTA summits qualified. It was also great to be the station that gave at least one amateur his last (45th) National Park for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Merit Award as a Chaser. This three-day activity coincided with the third anniversary of the SA National Parks and Conservation Parks Award scheme, so there was plenty of Parks activity on the air: 40 m was very busy for much of the weekend.

DX News

Some readers will have noticed that the DX News column has been missing since late last year. I have sent several emails to Nick VK2DX enquiring if he was willing and able to continue, but all have gone unanswered. The last column contribution from Nick was published in the November issue. As I have said before: I cannot publish material if it is not submitted.

In late February, I received an offer to assist with proof reading. Once we had sorted out the details, I was able to accept the offer and at the same time offer “retirement” from the proof reading team to a member of that team who works on weekends and thus found it difficult to complete the proofing task in a timely manner. He eagerly accepted the offer. This change should not have much visible influence on most readers.

As a consequence of the changes, we now have a new DX columnist, commencing this month. Welcome to Luke VK3HJ, who drops the proofing task but offered to compile a DX column.

ARRL CEO David Sumner K1ZZ retires

Many amateurs will be aware that the ARRL CEO David Sumner K1ZZ retired on 18 April, after leading the ARRL staff for34 years.

Some may ask “Why is this significant to us in VK?

Like Michael Owen VK3KI (SK), David has also played very significant roles in international Amateur Radio affairs, including the IARU and World Radio Conferences.

The International Amateur Radio Union President Tim Ellam VE6SH/G4HUA has presented David Sumner K1ZZ with the IARU’s prestigious Michael J. Owen VK3KI Memorial Award. Tim Ellam cited David Sumner’s “skill, diplomacy, and encyclopaedic knowledge” of Amateur Radio, and his role on the international scene, as most deserving of the award.

You can read more about David K1ZZ in QST, on the ARRL website and on the WIA website:

Social media and “WIA issues”

I do not plan to mention any detail about the ongoing airing of views surrounding WIA operations that have occurred in this magazine and on various social media sites.

We published a detailed Over to You plus a response from the Board last month. I have received further correspondence around these issues, but I decided that little would be gained by publishing them in this, or any future issue. I advised the authors individually of the decision and did receive some further correspondence surrounding my decision. One of the authors advised that the content was going to be published on-line regardless of my decision.

I will leave individual members to seek and read the available material, to ask questions in appropriate forums and then you may form your own conclusions. If the authors wish to pursue their issues, I suggested that mechanisms other via this magazine might be more appropriate.

As the President has previously noted, it is not easy to be involved in changing the way an organisation operates!

Until next month,


Peter VK3PF

This month’s cover

Our cover this month shows an easy to build dual-axis rotator system with attached dual-band Yagi in operation in front of a group of primary School students. Read all about the project on page 6. Photo by Joe Gonzales VK3YSP. The inset is the Yaesu FTM-100DR dual band transceiver, reviewed in this issue.

WIA President's Comment

What does the WIA do for me?

We constantly get asked “what does the WIA do for me - why should I be a member” and when we tell them what we do they retort “why do you hide your light under a bushel”. Fair comment, so I’m going to tell you what the WIA has done this month.

The month kicked off with the ACMA’s two-day RadComms 2016 conference in Sydney, entitled “Discovery, disruption and demand”, and with a theme focusing on “enabling innovation”. We heard about the vision for a connected world where everyone, everything, everywhere, is going to be connected and monitored via the Internet of Things. There’s one thing certain, it’s going to be a very fast-paced and connected world, where collection and analysis of data generates the big dollars, and there are going to be huge demands on spectrum.

At RadComms, the Minister for Communications, the Hon Senator Mitch Fifield, distributed a Consultation Paper for the proposed new 2016 Radiocommunications Act. In the Minister’s words, “A new Radiocommunications Bill will modernise our regime, and allow industry greater scope to respond quickly in the market to emerging technologies and services.” As expected, apparatus and spectrum licensing will disappear, to be replaced by parameters-based licensing, and Class licensing will be replaced with ‘spectrum authorisations’. Spectrum administration will increasingly become the work of private band managers, or in the case of Amateur Radio, possibly a service manager.

The new Radiocommunications Bill holds both challenges and opportunities for the Amateur Service, but we believe it also holds a rare opportunity for Amateur Radio in Australia.

Shortly following the release of the Consultation Draft by the Minister, the WIA made a major submission to the ACMA in which we suggested variations to the conditions of all three amateur licence classes, and to the Spectrum Plan. The intention is to both improve the operating privileges for Australian Radio Amateurs, bringing them up to parity with other western nations, and also to make Amateur Radio more relevant in the modern, digitally-connected age. As I write this comment, we are preparing to meet with the ACMA to discuss the WIA’s submission, and other matters which may eventually lead to greater self-determination for the amateur service. I expect that, by this time this comment is published, the submission will be available on the WIA website.

Work has started on the WIA’s response to the Consultation paper itself, which is due by the end of April, representing many tens of hours of highly specialised work.

The National Office has been working on the WIA’s Club Insurance Scheme over this month, with the able assistance of Ted Thrift VK2ARA. Ted has been administrating the Club Insurance scheme for the past 10 years, and has recently retired from that role. We all thank Ted very much for so expertly handling this tedious and difficult job for so long, and the WIA Office is very quickly learning just how time consuming it really is chasing Affiliated Clubs for their membership numbers in order to make the required single insurance payment by the due date.

Last month, I mentioned in my Comment that the WIA had attended a PLT/BPL workshop hosted by the ACMA in Sydney. Following that workshop, we made a submission to the ACMA expressing the WIA’s concerns about the consumer and interference risk of PLT/BPL devices, and the rising level of electromagnetic pollution generally. The WIA’s submission is available on the WIA website.

Each year, the WIAs accounts are reviewed by our Auditor for presentation to the membership at the AGM. This year is no different and, at the time of writing, over the past week or so the WIA’s Treasurer and Executive Manager have been working closely with the Auditor/ reviewer. The fi nal result is not known at the time of writing, but everything has gone very smoothly with the Review this year, especially considering the total restructuring of the National Office operations. I expect the fi nancial report will show a small loss, which is pretty good, considering the unusual but necessary expenses last year associated with the restructure.

Add to all this activity the normal day-to-day workload, the callsign and licence assessments carried out on behalf of the Commonwealth, supporting the work of the WIA Assessors, the 60 or so emails received by the WIA offi ce each day (most of which require some sort of redirection or follow-up), sending out ‘welcome aboard’ packages to new members, new initiatives to pursue such as STEM/STEAM education, updating and reprinting the Foundation Licence Manual (now in Edition 3), and getting everything together for the AGM at Norfolk Island in late May, and you should be getting some idea of the work the staff and volunteers at the WIA do for you each month, continuously, day-in day-out.

Why wouldn’t you want to support that?

During May, we will have the added task of organising everything for the AGM on Norfolk Island. There has been a lot of discussion about the cost of hosting that event, and the fact that Directors may be getting a “free holiday in the South Pacific at member’s expense”, as a vocal brigade has alleged. Let me dispel a couple of myths. Firstly, the WIA has secured a very good deal, and the cost of holding the venue is expected to be less than previous years’ AGM events in capital cities such as Canberra, Darwin or Perth. Secondly, I am of the opinion that being a Director of the WIA should not only be a rich man’s game, and (in accordance with the Constitution) the WIA should cover Directors’ reasonable expenses when they are on WIA business. This has been the WIA’s custom and practice from the get-go. Having said that, this year, I have allowed Directors to pay their own travel expenses to Norfolk, strictly on a voluntary basis. I have no idea what arrangements individual Directors are making, and I don’t want to know, but I suspect the overall cost to the WIA this year is going to be very low indeed.

PS: Following my April Comment, a good friend of mine (Volcanologist, Arthur, for those of you who know him) reminded me that, over recent decades, we have had two PMs called Malcolm. Malcolm Number 1 would have lamented that “life was not meant to be easy” (to be a WIA president). However, Malcolm Number 2 would enthusiastically proclaim that “there has never been a more exciting time” (to be a WIA president). His advice is, go with the latter guy.

Table Of Contents

WIA Annual Election 2016 Geoff Atkinson VK3AFA
Improved Battery - William Bleeck History - Part 3: Experimenting Don Marshall VK4AMA
A bush war-time station – almost! VK3BM’s story in his own words Bruce Mann VK3BM & Peter Wolfenden VK3RV
The Gift of Single Side Band Bob Gilchrist G3WUD, VK1BOB, A92FZ, VK2HH


A mini satellite-antenna rotator Julie Gonzales VK3FOWL & Joe Gonzales VK3YSP
Product Review | FTM-100DR 144/430 MHz Dual Band Transceiver Peter Hartfield VK3PH
A battery for the Universal AVOMETER Model 8 Mk III Peter Kloppenburg VK1CPK

Plus all the usual Club news and columns

A bush war-time station – almost! VK3BM’s story in his own words

Bruce Mann VK3BM & Peter Wolfenden VK3RV

A brief account of the establishment of an amateur station during World War 2 in country Victoria, with the view to having an operating radio communication base in the event of an enemy attack on more obvious military installations.

Improving primary batteries: William Bleeck. Part 3: Experimenting

Don Marshall VK4AMA

The author concludes the third article which explore the development of a primary battery early in the 20th century. It is partly an item of family history, but is of both historical and technical interest and complements the other articles publish over the past year in relation to amateurs serving in the military.

A mini satellite-antenna rotator

Julie Gonzales VK3FOWL & Joe Gonzales VK3YSP

The authors present a lightweight satellite antenna rotator based on a MEMS sensor board and two motors. The rotator system has been used in conjunction with a School Amateur Radio Club to involve primary school students in amateur radio and amateur satellite operations.

Product Review: FTM-100DR 144/430 MHz Dual Band Transceiver

Peter Hartfield VK3PH

The author reviews one of the Yaesu System Fusion VHF/UHF transceivers.

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