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General Information

2018 Magazines

Other years

Amateur Radio
May - June 2018

Delivery Expected from 17 May 2018

      WIA Member Digital Edition Download


Your chance to be heard

Just after this issue is due to be delivered, many will be gathering at the 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) on the Gold Coast. The chances are that you may be reading these comments after the meeting has concluded….

The AGM is one chance for all members to voice their comments regarding the Institute and to raise any questions directly with the Board in a public place – the Open Forum.

We live in a large country and many members may not be able to attend such a meeting. Any member can at least participate by completing the Instrument of Proxy, available on the WIA website. I found it interesting when using the web site search tool that the search term “Proxy Form” produced only results relating to items other than the actual form. The form is easily found if you search for “proxy instrument”….

At this AGM, members are being asked to consider the normal annual reports, as detailed in the Notice of Annual General Meeting (see page 13 of Issue 2 2018 (March April issue) of this magazine. The notice also lists an item regarding some amendments to our constitution. The proposed changes are detailed on pages 30 and 31 of Issue 2 2018 of the magazine.

The form is generic. You have choices to direct the manner in which the form is used and/or may allow the Chair of the meeting to use the proxy as he/she sees fit, or direct the proxy to another WIA member who will be present at the meeting. Whilst space on the actual form is limited, I am sure that more detailed instruction regarding how your vote may be used would be acceptable, provided that such instructions are included with the form.

Note that the completed form must be received by the WIA Office at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled start of the meeting. You can print out the form, complete the required details and then scan the document and email it back to the email address on the form.

As I prepare these comments, I am unsure if I will be making the long trip to Sea World. I am still considering my options, with only one week until registration closes.

Contributor needed

Are you interested in the Contests scene? Many readers will have noted that the last couple of issues of the magazine have been without a Contests column due to the retirement of the previous contributor. We are still seeking a new contributor to provide information every second month about Contests. Individual managers of Australian Contests usually provide information on their upcoming contest and also at least summary results, and these are published as separate articles. The task should not be too onerous, as we anticipate around one page of content every two months (around 750 - 1000 words). If you are willing to help, please email me at

I note that the Contest Committee is seeking a manager for the VK Shires Contest. See the report on page 54.


I had a quiet day at home on ANZAC Day this year, but did a little listening on the bands. The 40 metre band was certainly very busy, with many stations exercising their right to use the AX prefix instead of the VK prefix. Many stations in southern Australia used the day to head out into Parks and to participate in the VKFF/WWFF program or to activate a SOTA summit. I worked stations in VK1 through to VK6 call areas and a small number of ZL stations. The activators were kept busy with plenty of callers. The only stations that I know I missed were at locations not too far from my location but beyond ground wave distance – for most of the day there was a lack of NVIS propagation out to around a hundred kilometres or so. It was a good day for all those chasing the activators. Congratulations to all who used the special prefix, and to those who used part of the day to enjoy the great outdoors in conjunction with some amateur radio activity.

Until next issue,


Peter VK3PF

This issue’s cover

Using a kite to support an antenna for 160 m on Mount Hotham. Warren VK3BYD and Bernard VK2IB/3 operating 160 m SOTA. Photo by Robyn Brown.

WIA President's Comment

Year in Review

The objects for which the WIA is established are at the end of each Board meeting’s Agenda and Minutes. This is to remind the Board of why it is there. For the purposes of this review I have used these objects to demonstrate what has been achieved, supported and changed in the last year.

1. Promote, advance and represent in any way it thinks fit Amateur Radio and the interests of Radio Amateurs, and without limiting the generality of the forgoing

The Board is ensuring the foundations are in place for the future. Under the promotion and advancement object, the Board is focused on being open and transparent with members. The WIA is consulting and communicating with members through a wide range of mechanisms. These include the website, Facebook, Memnet, surveys, AR magazine and National News broadcasts.

The Board is actively making the organisation more sustainable and lowering the risk profile. The Board will post a loss for 2017 as you will have seen from the Annual General Meeting (AGM) financial reports. The Board has put in place measures to reduce this in 2018. The 2018 budget has a high level of provisioning for a range of areas that need attention. The 2018 budget is on track and balancing.

The 2017 Board suffered from a lack of documented organisational memory especially in the finance area because of an almost complete change of the Board. The Board is addressing this through a revised organisational structure, through creation and revision of Terms of Reference for each committee and a sensitive volunteer renewal program. This is slowly alleviating the single point risks the Board has identified.

Under the objective of representation, the Board has an excellent working relationship with the ACMA and is actively planning what the amateur radio service will look like under the new Radiocommunications Act. The Deed of Agreement for delivery of Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) services by the WIA expires in 2019. It is recognised that any new contractual arrangement with the ACMA will need to be based on the real cost of delivering the service. This will more than likely involve increased cost of services.

In 2017 the Volunteer Charter was released. This is an important defining document on governance, recruitment, retention, managing, supporting and setting expectation levels for both the volunteer and the WIA. The Board has also introduced a Volunteer Agreement.

The Board is actively working toward steering not rowing the organisation - this is a challenging organisational culture change that will take time - especially as the WIA is a volunteer organisation.

2. Protect and enhance the privileges of Radio Amateurs

The Board views the Licence Condition Determination (LCD) submission to the ACMA as an once-in-a-lifetime chance to re-position the hobby for the future. Therefore, the WIA has taken time to fully research and analyse survey results, comments and inputs to support the submission.

There have been many consultations undertaken, submissions to and meetings with the ACMA:
  Analysis of the draft radiocommunications legislation released in May 2017.
  Three phases of consultation with the amateur radio community for the new radiocommunications legislation and revised LCD: Phase 1 general principles, Phase 2 proposed changes to each licence grade, Phase 3 outstanding issues (May-July 2017).
  3575-3700 MHz band changes consultation with Amateur Radio community (June 2017).
  Attendance at radiocommunications legislation consultation session (June 2017).
  Consultation with Amateur Radio community on the ACMA Interference Management proposal (August 2017).
  Drafting and submitting response to the ACMA on 3575-3700 MHz band changes using the consultation response (August 2017).
  Drafting and submitting a response paper using the consultation information on the radiocommunciations legislation (August 2017).
  Drafting and submitting a response to the ACMA Interference Management consultation (September 2017).
  Attendance and reporting on the RadComm 2017 (October 2017).
  Drafting a response paper using the LCD consultation information (commenced November 2017).
  Spectrum Strategy Committee workshop with Board members on LCD submission.

Supporting both WIA objective two and five is the WIA International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Monitoring System that is part of the IARU global monitoring activities of the Amateur Service across all three IARU regions. Information is shared with the ACMA and other national societies within the IARU to assist with locating and identifying intruders.

3. Encourage an awareness of the value of Amateur Radio

The Board supports the building of social capital through its affiliated clubs scheme. The local clubs provide networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively. You have probably seen publicity about Men’s Sheds, Maker and Hacker Spaces? Amateur Radio has been providing these spaces and has been building up social capital for well over 100 years!

WIA support of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program is a very visible demonstration of the value of amateur radio. To see the wonder on children’s faces when they talk to an astronaut is immeasurable. These are the powerful events (powered by amateur radio) that children remember.

The embryonic STEM program within the WIA is certainly an area full of opportunity that the Board is very interested in developing along with alliances with Science, Maker, Hacker and the Schools in Amateur Radio (SARC) groups and gatherings.

The flag ship magazine of the WIA - Amateur Radio magazine is still going strong and providing a vehicle for the sharing of a broad range of information to members and the public.

Special events stations like VI50IARU and VK100MARCONI are a great way of raising awareness about the hobby. Stations are usually in a visible public place and allow amateurs to demonstrate their passion for the hobby.

There is a constant flow of Amateur Radio News Bulletins sharing the news and views of amateur radio. The podcast of the WIA National News assists the awareness of amateur radio to non-amateur radio enthusiasts.

4. Educate and encourage potential Radio Amateurs

The WIA facilitates training and assessment services through its Nominated Training Organisation (NTO) – Silvertrain – and club Assessors and Learning Facilitators. The voluntary contribution to these activities by the WIA NTO, the Assessors, and the many others at Institute and a club levels, provides a service at a far lower cost than could be otherwise offered, particularly by a commercial for-profit organisation.

It is a welcome trend to see more Assessors and Learning Facilitators becoming available.

Nom. Assessors WIA Assessors L/Facilitators
2017 2016 2017 2016 2017 2016
TOTAL 25 24 223 217 49 47

Another welcome trend is the higher numbers of assessments being passed and processed.

2017 2016 2017 2016
TOTAL 832 793 TOTAL 771 741

The revision and republishing of The Foundation Manual – Your Entry into Amateur Radio supports the education and encouragement of radio amateurs. This publication is certainly on the WIA’s best seller list!

5. Represent Radio Amateurs both nationally and internationally

The WIA is actively involved in IARU Region 3 and ITU activities and contributes funds to honour its commitment to send representatives to these activities.

In the last year the WIA has funded, through the IARU or directly, representatives attending these international meetings:
  ITU Working Party 5 meeting in Geneva in May 2017
  APG-2 Meeting in Indonesia in July 2017
  ITU Working Party 5 meeting in Geneva in November 2017.

One aspect of the hobby is its truly global nature. Having an Amateur Radio licence is like having a passport that allows you to travel to other countries via the airwaves. There are virtual international borders subject to an international treaty to which Australia is a signatory. Radio amateurs make many friends nationally and internationally. Amateur Radio provides an opportunity to learn more about different cultures, and contribute to international goodwill and increase social capital.

The WIA maintains the Band Plan. This is a voluntary agreement sponsored by the WIA for the benefit of all amateurs. The band plan is created to give all amateurs a fair go. The band plan also facilitates regional and international band and mode harmonisation.

6. Provide services for Radio Amateurs and those interested in Amateur Radio

Training and assessment services are provided to everyone whether a WIA member or not.

Affiliated clubs services include:
  facilitation of cost-effective public liability insurance for affiliated clubs
  an education and training service for all aspiring and current amateur radio operators
  central recording and provision of club information, training and assessment contact details for people to find a trainer and assessor near them.

Weekly National News broadcast and podcast service provide the news and views of amateur radio from Australia and the world. The website and Facebook pages of the WIA provide information, technical reference material and a services portal for the WIA and all amateurs.

The production of an annual callbook is another service the WIA provides for all amateurs.

Callsign Management Services provided on behalf of the ACMA for all amateurs saw 1,031 callsign recommendations in 2017 versus 1,146 in 2016. This is an area where the real cost of service provision is currently being reviewed.

The WIA currently supports seven amateur radio contests and manages the Contest Champions facility which aggregates the scores from seven popular WIA contests. The WIA also manages over 15 Contest Awards.

WIA Merit awards are presented at Annual General Meetings to recognise significant achievements within the WIA.

The WIA provides a cost-effective inwards and outwards QSL Bureau for members of the WIA.

The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) provides technical information, advice and recommendations to the WIA in a broad range of modes, frequencies and specialities. The TAC also manages the National Repeater and Beacon planning for all amateurs.

At an operational level the Board is actively seeking to improve the processes and functions using continuous improvement principles. This has seen the introduction of a Ticketing system to provide consistent process and service levels for members.

In 2017 the WIA welcomed 242 new members which is a welcome trend. However, membership numbers remain a primary concern as the Board continues to see membership numbers drop. Membership engagement is a renewed focus for the Board along with attracting new members in 2018. During 2017 the Board introduced an Associates Program and reintroduced concessional memberships.

A huge thank you to the well over 100 volunteers Australia-wide who perform the various functions of the Institute as well as the two fantastic staff members in Melbourne. Running a complex organisation like the WIA on a shoe-string would not be possible without the dedication of all these people.

I finish with a welcome to Aidan Mountford VK4APM and welcome back Brian Clarke VK2GCE to the 2018 Board.

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

Table Of Contents


Sending QSL cards to the Outwards QSL Bureau John Seamons VK3JLS
Radio amateur and woman fire fighter Fred Swainston VK3DAC/VK4FE
Significant amateur radio equipment exhibits and the WIA archive Peter Wolfenden VK3RV
The Journey to Europe Brian McDermott VK3BCM
IARU Region III Inaugurated in Sydney - 50 years ago David Wardlaw VK3ADW and Peter Wolfenden VK3RV


Extended Double Zepp Loop aerial (EDZLA) David “Doc” Wescombe-Down VK5BUG
Work the World with WSJT-X Part 2: Codes, Modes, and cooperative software development Joe Taylor K1JT, Steve Franke K9AN and Bill Somerville G4WJS

Review: The radiosport RS20S “Dream Edition” headset Peter Freeman VK3PF

Plus all the usual Club news and columns

Radio amateur and woman fire fighter

Fred Swainston VK3DAC/VK4FE

The author reports on one of the early lady amateurs: Ms Marjorie Hutchings VK3HQ (SK). She was active on air and also involved in local firefighting efforts.

IARU Region III Inaugurated in Sydney - 50 years ago

David Wardlaw VK3ADW and Peter Wolfenden VK3RV

The authors report on the early developments of the International Amateur Radio Union with an emphasis on the Region 3 (Asia Pacific), including the roles played by Australian and New Zealand amateurs.

Extended Double Zepp Loop aerial (EDZLA)

David “Doc” Wescombe-Down VK5BUG

The author describes his development and construction of an Extended Double Zepp antenna in a loop configuration for use on the 10 m band.

Work the World with WSJT-X Part 2: Codes, Modes, and cooperative software development

Joe Taylor K1JT, Steve Franke K9AN and Bill Somerville G4WJS

The authors describe the operational mechanisms of the WSJT-X software suite, together with an overview of how their software is developed.

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