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2020 Magazines

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Amateur Radio
Issue No.3, 2020

Delivery date - 11th September 2020


      WIA Member Digital Edition Download


Editorial

This issue, I have introduced a new occasional-to-regular feature, called Building Blocks. The general idea is, in relatively short articles, to cover concepts that are germaine to electronics and radiofrequency technologies. As the worlds of science, technology and engineering are built on mathematics, from time to time I expect equations to be used. Hence the billboard in the right hand column, here.
I have been a subscriber to a number of email reflectors for many years. The concept and use of the technology pre-dates Facebook and Twitter, the ubiquitous ‘social media’, but email reflectors (or lists) still serve their purpose of enabling people that share a particular interest to maintain connection, share knowledge and discuss matters of the day. I have noticed a curious development over recent years where there has been parallel development between email reflectors and Facebook groups.

That said, I have been astonished to see over this year the explosion in activity over these media in developments on the 122 GHz / 2.5mm band – one of the frontiers of amateur radio. It is a global phenomenon! Subscribers to email reflectors and Facebook groups come from all over the world.

As could be expected, interest and activity has not stopped there, pushing on to 241 GHz and, very recently, to 700+ GHz. From there, we’re into lightwave territory, which amateurs across the world have experimented with in fits and starts over decades. Indeed, those attending the presentation sessions accompanying the 2018 WIA Annual Conference at SeaWorld on the Gold Coast, were treated to a tour-de-force demonstration of amateur radio lightwave communications. The annual Gippsland Technology Conferences held mid-year in Churchill, Victoria (cancelled for 2020 during this COVID-19 pandemic), has included demonstrations and presentation of radio amateur lightwave communications.

DX records on the mm-wave bands have been successively set and extended almost month-by-month over recent times. Progression in technology, techniques and DX records are being regularly documented in AR magazine’s VHF-UHF – An Expanding World column issues by issue. I am reminded that this very much reflects what was happening in amateur radio a century ago, only on the bands below 200 metres at the time.

For those older amateurs returning to their interest in the hobby, having left it fallow for years for a host of entirely legitimate reasons (life!), and despairing because it is not what they remembered, amateur radio is very much ‘alive and kicking’, has expanded enormously the range and variety of areas to explore and today offers so much more than yesteryear that every licensee is spoiled for choice.

73
Roger Harrison VK2ZRH
Editor in Chief

WIA President's Comment

Board comment

Last issue I mentioned the saying "May you live in interesting times!" and its applicability to recent widespread events that have negatively impacted Australians. These unwelcome “interesting times” have certainly continued with the state of Victoria reverting to full pandemic lockdown (Stage 4) for Melbourne residents following widespread community transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Smaller-scale ‘second wave’ outbreaks have also occurred in New South Wales, and Queensland. Borders remain closed, or have re-closed, to all non-essential traffic across all Australian states.

RUOK?
The WIA is aware of the considerable personal and mental health impacts that the new lockdown in Victoria must be having on our Victorian members in particular, as well as the continuing impacts on almost all Australians.
The WIA kindly asks our members Australia wide to be as active as possible in getting on the air – not just listening, but actually calling CQ – whether HF and/or VHF, during this time of increased social isolation. And remember, it won’t hurt to ask ‘Are you OK?’. If you are not coping, ask for help, it is readily available, at no cost, from various community counselling services such as Lifeline, Beyond Blue, etc. A comprehensive list of telephone counselling services is detailed at www.healthdirect.gov.au/mental-health-helplines – it is worthwhile checking this site to become aware of the wide range available so you can direct friends or family to these valuable resources in times of need.

Internet Collaboration
I encourage local clubs to conduct regular “virtual” informal video conference meetings to help maintain social contact. Remember that the WIA has a standing offer to all WIA affiliated clubs for free access to the corporate version of Google Suite, which overcomes the many limitations – including privacy and security – of the free alternatives for video conferencing and member collaboration.
There are many features and benefits of this offer, which is worth approximately $5 per month per member of your club. Each club is issued with a unique internet sub-domain and, once set-up, can manage their own administration of Google Suite, such as adding and deleting users. Feedback from the “early-adopter” clubs already using this offer has been excellent.

Annual General Meeting (AGM) wrap-up
The WIA held a successful and constructive “virtual” meeting for the 2020 WIA AGM via video conferencing. The meeting was also live-streamed on YouTube.
The WIA thanks all members who attended the meeting and/or provided proxies.
This meeting was held based on a special determination from the Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) that allows “virtual” meetings – this determination is due to expire in November 2020. The Corporations Act currently precludes holding “virtual” general meetings, requiring a physical location.
The draft minutes of the meeting, including the President’s Report is planned to be available on the WIA website by the end of August. After the formal meeting concluded, an hour-long “Ask us any question!” session was held, which covered a wide variety of topics.
A link to the full conference video will also be on the WIA website. Based on the success of this format, the WIA will consider making interactive videoconferencing a feature of future AGMs, even when (if?) we revert to a physical location as currently required by the Corporations Act.

Youngsters on the Air (YOTA)
The first ever IARU Region 3 YOTA camp to be held in Thailand this October has, unfortunately, now been postponed due to COVID-19 and will be rescheduled for a later date.
The initial Americas’ YOTA camp for young amateur radio operators in North, Central, and South America that was postponed in the summer of 2020 is now scheduled for July 11-16, 2021.
The goal of YOTA is to welcome new and young amateur radio operators to amateur radio. We live in a world where communication is being digitalised in a way that is becoming all-pervasive, and the relevance of Amateur Radio is far from self-evident. YOTA is an IARU initiative about creating the next generation of amateur radio enthusiasts, bringing new energy and innovation potential.
The current IARU focus is on a “Train-the-trainer” approach to train younger radio amateurs as “Ham Evangelists” to then get more young people interested in becoming Radio Amateurs.

RD Contest
The 2020 Remembrance Day contest was held recently with great success and featured a very high level of participation.
This radio-sports contest commemorates Australian radio amateurs who have died in the service of their country. Each year, this major contest is held over the weekend closest to 15 August, the anniversary of the date, in 1945, on which hostilities ceased in the southwest Pacific. This year marks 75 years since the cessation of the Pacific hostilities, and which signalled the end of World War Two, more than three months after the fighting in Europe had stopped.

Internet Security
The WIA recently moved its primary web server, which is hosted at a datacentre, to a new and more powerful hardware platform and took the opportunity to upgrade both the operating system (Linux) and application software.
The WIA website now meets the highest standard (A+) of internet security, as verified by tests provided by SSL Labs, a non-commercial internet security research organisation. As an aside, if you happen to be still running any PCs with Windows 7 as the operating system, it is time to upgrade. Quoting Microsoft: “Support for Windows 7 ended on January 14, 2020. If you are still using Windows 7, your PC may become more vulnerable to security risks”.

In closing
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
Building Blocks Dude! What is it with these decibels? - Phil Wait VK2ASD
Clothesline wire makes easy 'multi-band' antenna - Carmel Morris VK2CAR
Spotless! Surviving solar minimum - Roger Harrison VK2ZRH
Australian digital voice mode cracks DX on the 20m band - Peter Wolfenden VK3RV & David Rowe VK5DGR
Homebrew HF Transceiver project Part 2 Transmitter - Luigi Destefano VK3AQZ
Raspberry Pi savior - Robert Campiciano VK2ACR/VK2YMU

General
The 'gentle persuader' turns 90 - Peter Wolfenden VK3RV
Between verification and validation - Brian Clarke VK2GCE

Advertisers Index

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

 


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