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2017 Magazines

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Amateur Radio March 2017

Delivery expected from 23 February

      WIA Member Digital Edition Download


Time to play your part in our democracy

Last month I outlined some of the issues that have been under discussion concerning our hobby and our national organisation: our WIA.

Nominations for the upcoming election closed on 31 January and the Returning Officer has announced the names of the 13 candidates whose nominations were received.

Included with this issue of Amateur Radio are the candidate statements, the voting form and envelopes. Be careful – do not throw away the cover sheet and the other loose items!

If you do not receive the print copy of the magazine, I understand that the National Office will forward voting papers to you via the mail.

It is important that you follow the directions on the ballot paper. Cross out the names of the candidates you do not vote for, leaving up to seven names not crossed out. Follow the instructions for placing the ballot paper into its proper envelope, and then the instructions for the outer envelope.

Your postal ballot paper must be returned to the National Office (pre addressed on the outer envelope) on or before close of business on 27 March 2017.

As I noted last month, it is up to you to carefully read the candidate statements and arrive at your assessment of the candidates that you believe are the best to lead our organisation. Please follow the voting instructions carefully: you must not have more than seven candidate names NOT crossed out, otherwise your voting paper will be declared invalid. You must then follow the instructions carefully regarding the envelopes and have the outer envelope with the appropriate contents in the mail to arrive by the deadline. Late returns will not count.

Therefore, I urge you to undertake this task with some urgency, but with due consideration.

My understanding is that it will then be a simple process once returned ballot papers are assessed as valid: each candidate not crossed out will receive one vote from you. The Returning Officer then tallies the number of votes for each candidate and the seven candidates with the highest numbers of vote will be declared elected.

I would expect that the results of the poll will be announced in due course on the WIA website.

Remember that the newly elected (and/or returned) candidates do not take office until after the closure of the Annual General Meeting in May.

It is your privilege and dare I say duty to participate in this election process. No, we are not like our governments at different levels: voting is not compulsory. But if you do not vote, do you have any rights to comment on the outcome? I would suggest: not really! If you do vote, please be willing to accept the outcome of this democratic process. Then get behind the new team and help them to run this organisation.

A neighbourhood of Broken Windows

The February QST commentary by ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher NY2RF makes for interesting reading. It shows that the ARRL is, and has, experienced similar difficulties as those recently challenging our WIA. He states that “ARRL’s most daunting task is balancing and managing the diversity of interest in our (AR) community.” He commenced the commentary with the words: “Recall how uninviting are neighbourhoods of houses with broken windows. They repel, not invite, passers-by. The Ham radio ‘neighbourhood’ is experiencing its share of broken windows, and our own community is breaking the glass.
Tom concluded his commentary: “How can we get more people, especially younger people, to join our community? How attractive is a neighbourhood of broken windows? Let’s stop squawking, stop breaking windows.
Tom discusses the broad church of amateur radio in the body of his commentary. We can be a very diverse hobby, with each of us potentially focussed on our small niche. Is it better to complain about everything that is perceived to be “wrong”, or would we all and our hobby be better served by getting behind our representative body and helping it work for us all? I strongly believe that constructively working together has the potential to improve the position of the WIA and, in turn, result in better outcomes for the hobby and each of us as individuals. As always, there are very strong and well-heeled commercial interests out there that are always looking for ways to access spectrum which we currently use.

Until next month,


Peter VK3PF

This month’s cover

Our cover photo this month shows Marc Hillman VK3OHM operating portable adjacent to the Point Hicks Lighthouse in East Gippsland. See the brief report in this month’s Amateur Radio Victoria notes on page XX. Also read the SOTA and Parks column. Photo by Marc Hillman VK3OHM.

WIA President's Comment

Behind the Scenes at the WIA

At the time of writing this Comment in early February, the accounts for 2016 have been completed by the book-keepers and are about to have their final check by the accountants, prior to being submitted for financial audit.

Thanks to the book-keepers 2-Peas, the whole process has gone extremely smoothly. They are now working on streamlining the accounts, simplifying the ACMA financial reporting process, and investigating the possibility of integrating MEMNET into MYOB which would save a lot of manual work in the office.

By the time this Comment is published, the accounts should be with the Auditor. The WIA will show a substantial loss this year, but much less than what some commentators have suggested. In fact, the whole accounting process has gone so smoothly that I will be making a strong recommendation to the new Board that the accounts should remain in the hands of professionals, rather than volunteers.

I’m sure most members have a pretty good idea what the WIA does on behalf of Australian radio amateurs - the advocacy work nationally and internationally, working with the ACMA to improve licence conditions and privileges, the training and assessment service, producing AR magazine etc. However, there is an awful lot of tedious behind the scenes day-in-day-out work that needs to be done in order to keep the WIA machine operating for its members, and that may not be so well understood.

Many years ago (early 1970s) when I was a trainee technician for OTC, which later morphed into Telstra, we had a number of daily, weekly, monthly and yearly routines - tedious checks and maintenance to keep Australia’s overseas telecommunications going. I thought I’d apply this same format to explain what the WIA does, behind the scenes.

Each day the office processes new member applications and membership renewals, distributes licence assessment packs to Assessors and checks and processes them when they are returned completed, makes licence recommendations to the ACMA, issues callsign recommendations, including special-event callsigns, receives notification of silent keys, handles member enquiries - including an enormous number of phone calls, emails and website enquiries, sells books, processes the mail and distributes QSL cards.

On a weekly basis, the office enters financial records (now done by 2-Peas book-keepers who are in the office for one day per week) and does the banking. Each second week, the office issues membership renewals by email, issues membership reminder notices by letter, pays wages, and pays suppliers.
Every month, group tax payments go the Tax Office, staff superannuation payments are made, the MYOB accounts are reconciled (again, all by 2-Peas). The Executive Administrator attends an after-hours Board meeting by teleconference, which often goes for several hours.
BAS payments are made quarterly (2-Peas again).
In the first half of the year, the previous year’s accounts are finalised for presentation to the members at the May AGM (2-Peas together with the Accountant/Treasurer). The Directors’ report is prepared and the financial accounts audited. The Affiliated Clubs are asked to furnish a report on their membership and the WIA’s Club Insurance is negotiated and purchased for the year. Clubs are invoiced for their club insurance payment for non-WIA members. WIA Committees are asked to furnish their reports for the AGM and the information returned is formatted to fit into the members AGM bundle. Nominations for WIA Directors are called for, elections held, and the AGM is organised and held.

In March the WIA submits a major financial and performance report to the ACMA in relation to the work it performs on behalf of the Commonwealth.

The second half of the year is thankfully a bit quieter, the only yearly routines being renewal of the WIA’s business and liability insurances, and another major business activity report to the ACMA due in July.

Phew, it’s a big list, and I’m certain there are some small things I’ve forgotten. Most WIA Directors do not get involved in the daily, weekly, or even monthly routines, but the yearly issues do require a great deal of Board involvement. There are also many other issues that crop up on a very regular basis.

Thirteen candidates have nominated for election to the WIA Board this year, which is a very healthy sign for the future of the WIA. Voting forms and a proxy for the AGM are included as an insert with this issue. I hope this Comment has given you a little more of an idea about what the WIA does ‘behind the scenes’, and some of the less obvious issues Board members need to be across.

Please take time to vote, and please choose thoughtfully.

Table Of Contents


Community event communications for the 200 km Murray Paddling Marathon 2016 Grant Willis VK5GR
Notice of Annual General Meeting The Wireless Institute of Australia
The Learning Game Tony Boddy ZL3DQ, VK2ADQ, VK6DQ
WIA 2017 AGM and Weekend of Activities – Hahndorf Grant Willis VK5GR
Assessment and licensing matters Fred Swainston VK3DAC
TAC Notes John Martin VK3KM
Remote imaging Rod Green VK3AYQ


Making your Pixie QRP transceiver kit slightly less appalling Peter Parker VK3YE
A Speech Synthesiser for the Yaesu FT-817 Julie VK3FOWL & Joe VK3YSP
piHPSDR Display and Control Surface Review Justin Giles-Clark VK7TW

Plus all the usual Club news and columns

Community event communications for the 200 km Murray Paddling Marathon 2016

Grant Willis VK5GR

The author describes the preparations, logistics and participation of a group of amateurs who provided emergency communications for a canoe/kayak Paddling Marathon on the River Murray in South Australia.

Remote imaging

Rod Green VK3AYQ

The author outlines his journey in capturing remote imaging data from orbiting weather satellites, including some pointers to the hardware and software requirements.

A Speech Synthesiser for the Yaesu FT-817

Julie VK3FOWL & Joe Gonzales VK3YSP

The authors present a speech synthesiser which can enunciate the frequency and other settings from the FT-817 transceiver.

piHPSDR Display and Control Surface Review

Justin Giles-Clark VK7TW

The author reviews the recently released piHPSDR stand-alone controller for the HPSDR family of transceivers.

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