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2017 Magazines

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Amateur Radio July 2017

Delivery expected from 22 June

      WIA Member Digital Edition Download


Another road trip

As foreshadowed last month, I had another road trip ahead of me: a trip to Hahndorf for the Annual General Meeting of the WIA.

This trip was a little shorter in both time and distance, in part due to the forecasts for both terrestrial and space weather – it is not as much fun playing portable radio when the ionosphere is not cooperating and it is raining on you!

I departed home on Wednesday prior to the AGM and met the rain as I approached a target SOTA summit in the Grampians National Park. The result was a short activation – only five contacts made in between rain showers. I then progressed south and west to Mount Dundas for another short activation, with more rain either side of the actual time on the air.

But both summits were qualified for SOTA. I then headed into South Australia and found accommodation in Penola.

The following morning saw me on Mount Burr, after making contact with the District Ranger with ForestrySA. The activation went well, with me using the special event callsign VI5WOW for the day. Propagation was ordinary, but the summit was qualified. I then set off further west and north, eventually setting up and operating in two Conservation Parks during the afternoon. In the first Park I operated for an hour, working around 20 stations. In the second Park, I operated until I had the qualifying 44 contacts for the WWFF qualification. As I was driving to the highway, the rain started again. So I decided to head to the Adelaide Hills, with a stop at Meningie for dinner.

Friday saw me out operating on Mount Gawler in the morning and Mount Lofty in the afternoon – two new SOTA summits, plus Mount Lofty is also in Cleland Conservation Park. I then headed off to the Conference venue to pick up my registration pack. The evening saw a somewhat crowded space as people gathered for the social dinner. It was terrific to meet up with so many friends.

Saturday was the Annual General Meeting, the Open Forum and the Conference session after lunch. It was an interesting day. The evening saw the dinner, with plenty of social interaction, some good food and drinks and three excellent presentations.

We gathered at the Conference venue on Sunday morning to head out to activate another Park. I was joined by Robert VK3DN. We headed to a target Park, finding one of the locals already set up. So we exchanged greetings and then we headed off to the next nearest Park. I set up my station with a little assistance from Robert. After working a few stations, Robert declined an offer to make some contacts and departed to assist with setting up at the Hahndorf Oval for the afternoon Come and Try activities. I continued until I had my required 44 stations in the log, packed up and headed toward Hahdorf.

There was much to see and discuss at the Come and Try activities and many people who wanted to chat.

Thus the afternoon passed quickly, with a little excitement when the Horus balloon was launched and contacts were made through the small cross-band repeater carried in the payload. All too soon, it was time for the evening barbeque meal and the formal events were over.

I departed Mount Barker on Monday morning. I activated two Parks before arriving in Murray Bridge for the night. More discussions occurred over the late afternoon and evening and again in the morning. I was not feeling that well, as a head cold had hit me overnight Sunday.

Tuesday saw me heading back towards home, with a short diversion to activate a new VKFF reference near Bordertown. I only operated long enough to qualify the Park for the VKFF award scheme – 10 contacts is the minimum. Then on the road to Horsham and a quick chat with Mick VK3GGG which resulted in an invitation to drop in for a coffee. That coffee stop ended up being an overnight stay.

On the road again in the morning and I decided to attempt a couple of SOTA summits. This went well. It was then back onto the highway and head toward Melbourne and a slow transit across the road network, as I hit the suburbs at the start of the evening peak. But eventually I made it safely home – one simply needs to remain calm in the face of heavy traffic.

Many thanks to all involved in organising the events in Hahndorf – it was a terrific series of events, with a very good attendance.

Special thanks must go to Paul and Marija, who hosted me for the weekend, to Peter and Jenny with whom I stayed on Monday at Murray Bridge, and to Mick and his wife.

Until next month,


Peter VK3PF

This month’s cover:

Our cover this month features some images from the Come and Try activities at Hahndorf on the Sunday of the AGM weekend. At the top is an image captured in near space by the camera on the Horus high altitude balloon. The lower images feature some of the local Hahndorf Primary School students eagerly participating in School Amateur Radio Club activities. Photos courtesy Stuart Filmore VK5STU (bottom photos) and Amateur Radio Experimenters Group Inc and Project Horus.

WIA President's Comment

The magic of radio is alive and well

The magic of radio is alive and well! I attended along with many others the fantastic AGM and Convention weekend in Hahndorf in VK5 and came away from the experience convinced that the hobby of amateur radio is alive and kicking and we need to get the message out to the rest of the world and show them what they are missing!

I offer a huge thank you to the VK5 Organising Committee who put on a very entertaining and informative weekend showcasing the WOW of amateur radio.

The AGM weekend saw the hand-over to an almost completely new Board and this will provide a challenge in itself as the new Board begins a period of discovery and adjustment.

I thank Past President Phil VK2ASD and the past Board for all their work during a challenging period and especially thank them that they have volunteered to continue in their committee roles. This helps the new Board immensely with keeping the organisation running.

The AGM saw the presentation of the President’s Report highlighting the release of the new Radiocommunications Bill and the major body of work this will create for the Spectrum Strategy Committee, options for AR magazine, the bookshop, youth and STE(A)M, office and accounting, the Volunteer Charter, the consultation portal, the new voucher system for attracting new members as part of the examination pack and the development of trial on-line examinations. Phil thanked the Board and Bruce and Petra which was acknowledged by all present with applause. There were 78 Silent Keys in the last year that were acknowledged by one minute of silence.

The minutes of the 2016 AGM Minutes were read and there were some procedural delays in relation to approval of the 2016 AGM which saw detailed counting of votes and proxies. The AGM then moved to the auditors’ report, some questions were asked and referred to documents in the AGM information packs, it was then established that an Agenda was not included in the AGM pack. This was an unfortunate oversight. Some questions were taken on notice in relation to the 2016 financial report and the meeting was advised that the operating loss was because of a reduction in membership, a reduction in examinations and increases in accounting and book keeping costs.

Outgoing President Phil outlined the large amount of work that was put into the WIA by Directors on a voluntary basis and acknowledge that in future the Board needs to rely more heavily on the committees and other volunteers within the organisation. Phil outlined that legal advice was sought because of motions received after the notice period and the advice stated that the Financial Report did not need to be put to a vote. The auditors and returning officer were appointed for the coming year. Accolades were given to John Marshall for service over and above during the Board election campaign.

Phil then announced the new Board members and the new Board members introduced themselves. A vote of thanks was then given to the past Board. The past Board agreed to append the Questions and requests for further information document to the minutes of the meeting for next AGM. The certificates and awards were then presented by Phil and these are covered in another part of this magazine.

At the Open Forum the new Board outlined some of the areas that we will be seeking to improve and these include…

We are looking for greater openness and transparency and this starts with us releasing a synopsis of board minutes for members’ perusal via MEMNET. The 2017 AGM and Open Forum videos are also available on MEMNET.

Another key area the Board is progressing is the establishment of the Strategy Committee to guide the development of a member driven strategy and vision for the WIA. Whilst this is going on, the Board also resolved to continue the important work of the existing committees and any vacant committee positions will be filled in accordance with the Volunteer Charter. The Board is also looking to give committees greater responsibility and extract itself from many committees to enable it to steer not row the organisation and this will form part of the important work of the Strategy Committee.

A recurring theme at the Open Forum was membership and the fact that there are at least 8000 amateur radio operators who are not members of the WIA. The Board will certainly be investigating this and looking for help to improve this situation. If each member of the WIA was to recruit just one additional member then this would go a long way to strengthen and grow this organisation.

The Board will also be investigating improvements in the finance and budgeting systems and processes to ensure we can support the future organisation and live within our means.

By the time this Comment goes to print, the consultation period on the Spectrum Review changes will have closed and the WIA Spectrum Strategy Committee will have melded the comments received into the WIA submission.

This is an important time for amateur radio within Australia and this review signals changes to Legislation, Regulation and Spectrum Management within Australia. The WIA needs to foster and build the relationship with the ACMA and be ready to take on the opportunities that present to assist members and all amateurs in Australia.

We are always happy to hear from you – if you have a constructive suggestion on how the WIA can improve things then please contact the Board through the Consultation Portal on the WIA website.

Justin Giles-Clark VK7TW on behalf of the WIA Board.

Table Of Contents


WIA AGM and Convention 2017 - Hahndorf, South Australia Grant Willis VK5GR
Marconi legacy 80 years after his death Jim Linton VK3PC
Operating HF from a solar boat in the middle of Pumicestone Passage John Titmuss VK4JWT


A programmable two-tone signal source for transmitter testing Dale Hughes VK1DSH

Plus all the usual Club news and columns

WIA AGM and Convention 2017 - Hahndorf, South Australia

Grant Willis VK5GR

With the assistance of some additional contributors, the author presents a comprehensive report on the 2017 WIA Annual General Meeting and associated activities. Excellent reading for all, including those that attended the events.

Operating HF from a solar boat in the middle of Pumicestone Passage

John Titmuss VK4JWT

The author gives an account of playing radio whilst based from a solar powered small boat from the middle of Pumicestone Passage, near Bribie Island in Queensland.

A programmable two-tone signal source for transmitter testing

Dale Hughes VK1DSH

The author describes a two-tone audio signal source based on an Atmel ATmega328P microcontroller which can be used to test a transmitter.

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