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2020 Magazines

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Amateur Radio
Issue No.2, 2020

Delivery date 14/08/202


      WIA Member Digital Edition Download


Editorial

Roger Harrison VK2ZRH

I am reminded, of all things, of a song from the soundtrack of the movie Sleepless in Seattle, ‘Back in the Saddle Again’. It’s what happens when there’s a call for volunteers and you put your hand up. So that’s how I came to be appointed as Editor-in-Chief by the Board. I had no inkling when I emailed the Secretary. I just offered to assist. And I still hold down a fulltime day job.

As I have a background over many years in former careers in journalism and publishing as editor of Australian electronics magazines – including Electronics Today International (ETI) and Australian Electronics Monthly (AEM) – many readers will remember them, the board felt that my expertise and experience was appropriate. I also served terms as editor of trade journals Manufacturers’ Monthly and Electronics News. Before all that, I practised at being an editor, producing a newsletter for VHF-UHF amateur radio enthusiasts, called 6UP, which some of you may recall, also. Now for the bad and better news

As we all know, Issue No. 2 of AR magazine for 2020 has been delayed. Somewhat. However, the goal of the Publications Committee, with the support of the WIA Board, is to complete publication of all six issues for 2020. That means that our objective is to produce one issue a month from August through December (counts on fingers . . ), as Issue No.1 was published before the summer bushfires had all burned out and COVID-19 took hold.

The new Publications Committee has held online meetings and we have all gotten to know one another – or, at least, know each other a little better. Fortunately, the Committee has a mix of some members continuing from the past and some new people. As a group, there is a range of experience and expertise that can be brought out to tackle various components of the job at-hand. I have found our meetings to be friendly and collegiate, with members eager to get on with the job in front of us. My long experience reminds me that every publication management system is different in one way or another. I have been working with 2019-20 President Greg Kelly VK2GPK who – last year – took on the central task of producing AR magazine – the herculean central task, I might add – as it’s no job for the uninitiated. There are always 1000-and-one decisions to be resolved, each with an impact on many others. And every issue is different in large and small ways.

So let me pay tribute to all those who have striven to-date to maintain the momentum of AR production, especially under the uncertain circumstances prevailing over the recent past. Blame for this situation cannot – and should not – be heaped on anyone or any group – as so many disparate forces have produced it. Time to wipe clean the slate and start ‘from taws’.

73
Roger VK2ZRH
Editor in Chief

WIA President's Comment

WIA Presidents Comment

There is a fairly common saying, “May you live in interesting times”, usually attributed as a translation of an ancient Chinese curse1 masquerading as a blessing. 2019 was certainly an “interesting” year for the WIA, and to-date 2020 has shaped up as an even more “interesting” year for the WIA, our members and their families – but mostly not in a good way due to the combined effects of drought, raging bushfires and then the Covid-19 disease impacts. I personally have been heavily impacted with my rural NSW property being almost completely burnt in a bushfire (actually an out of control back-burn) in January.

Yet these challenging times are not all bad news, one of the two main Amateur Radio equipment vendors in Australia reported sales were up 183% during the initial pandemic lockdown, and the WIA National Office reported sales of the WIA Foundation Manual were running at 4 to 5 times normal volumes. Plus there has also been a significant uptick in on-air activity.

CubeSats: The WIA continues to support space satellite experimentation within Australia, and has been asked by the CSRIO to support an allocation of Amateur spectrum for a forthcoming CubeSat via the IARU. Currently, we receive one or two of these requests each year.

Magazine: There has been considerable delay due to unforeseen events in 2020 to AR Magazine issues 2 and 3. These stem from various factors culminating from the work effort being delegated upward to the WIA President. After getting 3 issues over 6 months completed, my availability became heavily impacted early this year by a number of non-WIA issues that demanded my attention. Despite some inappropriate and non-factual public statements to the contrary, I am still working in conjunction with a new volunteer editor-in-chief and a new volunteer PubCom secretary. The current plan is to publish all six issues due this year.

WIA Callbook: Peter Wolfenden’s two-part article, ‘History of the Callbook’, concludes in this issue of AR magazine. This article highlights the role played by a callbook in chronicling the changing make-up of the Australian Radio Amateur cohort over time and many generations. The Australian Callbook production was outsourced to the WIA (Victorian Division) in the mid-1950s by the regulator of that time (PMG Radio Branch). The WIA currently has a perpetual licence to publish a derivative work from the ACMA RRL data for Radio Amateurs which has been in place for two decades.
However, we are currently at a stalemate. ACMA have stated, both face-to-face and then via email, that if we publish another WIA Callbook under our licence , then they will unilaterally cancel the licence.
This highly unsatisfactory position which has potentially thwarted all future editions of the WIA Callbook was solely precipitated by the actions of a “splinter” radio amateur association that published a globally searchable pdf extracted as an illegal RRL derivative work. This resulted in, not unreasonably, a furore of complaints to ACMA.

The ACMA / WIA stalemate apparently stems from advice ACMA sought and received from the OAIC (Office of the Australian Information Commissioner) regarding privacy relating to the abovementioned illegal licence details extract that was published online. On the OAIC website, they describe their role as "We are the independent national regulator for privacy and freedom of information". Currently Angelene Falk is both the Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner. Her two roles are quite different, the first is concerned with ensuring public access to Government information in the public interest under the Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation. The second role, in regard to privacy, is to ensure customer information collected by organisations – those with revenue exceeding $3M per annum and subject the Privacy Act - is used ONLY for the purposes for which it is collected and that such customer information otherwise remains private and protected.

At this stage, the WIA has not been privy to either the content of the request from ACMA to the OAIC, or of the response but we will be seeking to find out via FOI. It will be highly enlightening to see how the OAIC could view RRL licence holder information that is clearly in the public domain already, by virtue of Federal legislation, as private data and subject to the Privacy Act.

The stalemate remains a work in progress to reach an ACMA / WIA mutually satisfactory result – if there are legal eagles that are willing to help, please contact the WIA National Office. Please note that the WIA has had a long standing policy of allowing radio amateurs to opt out of having their details, such as address, published in the WIA Callbook. Many amateurs, including myself, have a PO box as their address. Hopefully if future editions are published, the WIA is of the view that no street address will be included by default, however will facilitate opt-in for contact details, whether it be a mailing address or email.

Repeater Assignments: One area of some member frustration that the Institute has addressed is reducing the backlog of repeater assignments, due to dependence on a single assigner. This work is currently being undertaken by commercial frequency assigners on behalf of the WIA as a pilot process. The learnings from the pilot process will inform the long-term process that the WIA will adopt. At the moment, the WIA is incurring the full cost of using external frequency assigners – this won’t continue past the pilot process as these costs will have to be recovered unless the WIA can harvest member capability in having its own team of frequency assigners.

110 Year Anniversary: Despite the impact of two worlds wars, various internal ructions over the decades and two pandemics, the WIA continues the legacy initiated 110 years ago by a small group of keen radio and electronic enthusiasts. The WIA is at its heart a DIY organisation, not a government department, just members with a common interest and we need YOU! To mangle JFK’s words: Ask not what the WIA can do for you, but what you can do for the WIA! The WIA today, more than 110 years since it was founded, exists entirely due to the continuing contribution of many volunteers over many generations - consider becoming one of these volunteers and contribute, even in a small way, to the future of this great hobby.

73
Greg VK2GPK, WIA President.

Table Of Contents

Technical
The romance of restoring real radios - Phil Wait VK2ASD
Homebrew HF Transceiver project - Part 2 Transmitter - Luigi Destefano VK3AQZ
Wide-range signal generator covers 54 MHz to 13.6 GHz - Jim Henderson VK1AT
Simple dummy loads for rig testing at HF and higher frequencies - Jim Tregellas VK5JST
Automated Reference Switching for the Yaesu FT-817 - Keith Gooley VK5OQ

General
Callbooks: Their continuing value Part 2- Peter Wolfenden VK3RV
AMSAT in Turmoil - Greg Kelly VK2GPK

Advertisers Index

Icom Back Cover
Jaycar Page 5
Amidon Page 64
Yaesu Inside Front Cover
Future Systems Inside Back Cover

 


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