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2021 Magazines

Other years

May - June 2021

May - June 2021

      WIA Member Digital Edition Download


Strategically, the WIA has at least two masters: its members and pressures from its environment.
From time to time, the WIA carries out surveys to determine what members want. But what members want varies over time – they gain knowledge, skills and abilities that permit them to upgrade and motivate them to seek more sophisticated products and services. Unfortunately, what members want changes, and because the WIA is so scared of Privacy legislation, it does not ask survey respondents to identify themselves. So, we cannot actually tell what changes in demand for products and services there are – all we can do is look at the snap-shots taken at irregular times and guess. The bear of Privacy legislation is not that ferocious if all we ask for is what can easily be observed in the public arena.

What is demanded by environmental pressure, (eg, ACMA, IARU, what is happening in other jurisdictions) we have become more aware of through the recent ACMA Options proposal, reports from our own IARU delegation, and news of other jurisdictions’ radio amateur societies and their governments, eg, ARRL, NZART, SARL. There is another side: the WIA is one of the now two bodies asserting representation to the ACMA. And at law, any representation the WIA makes to the ACMA is that of just one client – like you or me. Hopefully, you, as clients, have submitted your votes for the Options. But this alleged consultation process has a fair way to go. There should be more consultation before enactment of laws and regulations.

Who does the WIA represent? In this issue, you will find Marc, VK3OHM’s analysis of numbers of Australian radio amateur licence holders. Have a look at the Total / Total column of Table 4 and Figure 1. In these you will see some interesting data:
Foundation licence holder numbers have been rising monotonically from 935 (in 2006) to 2690 (in 2020) at the rate of about 44 per annum, ie, about one new licensee per week.

Standard licence holder numbers rose monotonically from 1856 (in 2005) to 2088 (in 2011) at about 16 per annum and then between 2011 and 2020, wobbled about, varying at a rate of about one licensee per week up and down.
Advanced licence holder numbers have decreased monotonically from 11,461 (in 2005) to 8,909 (in 2020) at about 170 per annum. That is, a loss of about 1.7% per annum.
The average annual death rate in Australia is about 2.5% of the population. So, Australian radio amateur licence holders are doing better than the rest of the population.

Now look at the numbers of WIA members in Table 1:
Table - 1 Link (use your browsers back button to return to this page)

As a total of all licence holders, the WIA has a diminishing percentage. Some may take comfort from the 2% drop in the last year. Whereas, the data show a 22% drop over the last three years.
WIA membership has fallen dramatically over the previous three years at greater than the average and the age-specific death rate. And the fall is not echoed in Marc’s data where the average fall-off over the same period is about 1.7% per annum. So, the WIA is losing members, and mainly Advanced licence holders, faster than the annual falls in numbers of all Australian radio amateur licence holders. There was a surge in newcomers when the then new Foundation Licence was introduced. Have they graduated to Standard or Advanced? Or have they left? Have a look at Marc, VK3OHM’s Table 4. The Standard Licence is an amalgam of what were four or five licence grades, enhanced by dropping the requirement for Morse competence. What encourages them to stay or upgrade? The Advanced Licence is the previous Full Call without the Morse requirement. What is encouraging them to leave?

The WIA is a non-profit organisation. For income, it depends on membership subscriptions, grants, investment income, advertising and sales. When membership falls, the burden falls on those who remain to accept increases in subscriptions and fewer services, such as the reduction in Head Office services, and the cut in production of the Amateur Radio magazine from 11 issues per annum to 6. With a falling membership base, WIA sustainability is an issue.

What is, or is being, planned to attract newcomers, retain stable members, and debrief intending leavers?
This is an area where all radio clubs, with support from the WIA, can get involved. This was where Chris Jones (SK) was very passionate. Collaboration between the WIA Board and the clubs needs revival.

Not all is doom and gloom. We have some exciting things to come in future issues:
• Tonga DXpedition
• Part 2 of the VK3AQZ digitally-controlled antenna tuner
• Continuation of Lou Destefano’s digitally-controlled antenna tuning unit
• The ongoing ACMA saga
• and all the regular columns.
If you have a new project, a continuing project, or special events in your area of expertise or in your club that you would like other readers of AR magazine to know about, please email

WIA President's Comment

WIA Presidents Comment

Hello, this is Greg, WIA President,
ACMA Five Year Spectrum Outlook 2021 (FYSO): There has been a flurry of activity within the WIA in recent months providing responses to a number of Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) consultation requests and ongoing processes. Last issue (AR Issue 2 -2021) I noted the WIA’s response in regard to ACMA consultation on licensing options where the ACMA’s preferred option (Option C ) is to transition radio amateurs to a “Class Licence” instead of the current apparatus licence. In April, a WIA technical working group led by the WIA Spectrum Committee submitted to the ACMA our input to the ACMA Five Year Spectrum Outlook (FYSO). The FYSO is a 5 year rolling spectrum plan and a 12 month work program that both guides work effort in the ACMA and it informs the radiocommunications sector of the strategic directions and future focus areas of the ACMA. The FYSO is updated annually and our submission provides input to that process in respect of issues that impact on the Amateur Service, as stakeholders in this process.

For the Amateur Service, two key items on ACMA’s current FYSO agenda are of special interest to the Amateur Service, specifically the continuing work on the non-assigned Amateur Service licensing review regarding licence classes and also, planned for 2022, is a review of arrangements for Amateur Service that may facilitate operating at increased transmit power levels over 400 Watts.

The WIA has also drawn attention to a number of other key issues for the amateur service both now and in the mid-term, such as AOCP syllabus evolution, the efficacy of the current retrograde examination process and the elaboration of the amateur satellite service application process given that the WIA represents the IARU in Australia for satellite spectrum allocations. These are just a few of the key issues covered in the submission - please refer to the article by the WIA Spectrum Committee in this issue of AR for more detail or read the entire submission PDF on the WIA website.
Zero tolerance for harassment and abuse: A few days ago, an issue was raised with me about an email dialogue between our National Office and a prospective new WIA member. This dialogue started innocuously enough as this prospective member had partially completed the online membership form but was unsure how to finalise the application as they had just gained their AOCP qualification and callsign but were not yet licenced. The National Office, in assisting the applicant through the process, manually entered the details to complete the application but inadvertently set the membership expiration to “today’s date” rather than 12 months in the future. On receiving the confirmation of what was showing as a one day membership (an easily rectified manual error), the prospective member rather than asking for this to be resolved responded with what I can only describe as an unhinged, personally abusive email laden with “expletive deleted” swear words directed at our staff member. Not content to stop at personal abuse, they then went on to denigrate the WIA. Whilst the vast majority of email and phone calls received by the WIA from members are civil and respectful, sadly, this type of email escalation into abuse and/or harassment is not rare, and is becoming more common. My assessment is that social media has led to this abusive and or harassing behaviour, usually referred to as “trolling”, being viewed as an acceptable response to any form of dissatisfaction.

As WIA President I regularly receive emails that are helpful, constructive suggestions or simply constructive criticism to which I am happy to respond in kind. A lot of suggestions are along the lines of the WIA should “do this or that” – albeit almost universally without an offer an assistance to “do this or that”. Remember we are a DIY, volunteer organisation.
But both the WIA National Office and myself as president do receive, not infrequently, what I can best describe as unhelpful hyper-critical emails, often written with extensive use of capitals as a way of shouting their complaint and often laden with personal insults – such emails are a form of harassment or abuse. These are often copied to wide distribution lists for impact. And the authors of these unhelpful emails seem surprised that despite the wide distribution list they usually do not elicit a response from anyone on their distribution list. If a member has a complaint whether real or perceived, the WIA has a formal complaint process. Use it, but keep it civil and balanced. The WIA has a policy position of zero tolerance for all forms of harassment, discrimination or abuse. I personally hope the membership can enshrine this over-arching policy in the WIA constitution in the near future as it is currently silent on these matters.
110 years plus: The WIA has a legacy of supporting the rights and aspirations of Australian Radio Amateurs for well over a hundred years. It hasn’t always been a smooth journey through time, with various potholes and pitfalls along the way – and the WIA has survived despite massive technology innovation along the way. In 2004, a major change was implemented to move from a state-based federated model to a national organisation model.

Few members are aware that this change to a single national “peak body” was catalysed by a request from the then regulator (ACMA’s predecessor) for the WIA to form a single national organisation. This request was precipitated by the regulator’s perception that the various state WIA organisations “could never agree on a single outcome”. Unfortunately, the ACMA’s lack of organisational memory has led them to repeat history by their naive recognition a few years ago of a splinter group as an alternative “peak body” for the Amateur Service and then finding again, that they “could never agree on a single outcome”. Déjà vu.

My personal observation about the 2004 implementation of a national WIA is that it was a transition from one sub-optimal model to different sub-optimal model! However, it must be said that there is no one perfect organisational model for any organisation. As a truly democratic organisation it is up to the membership to make it work regardless and keep focus on the outcomes needed to protect the spectrum space we are so privileged to be able to utilise.
WIA 2021 AGM: Check out the AGM notice in this issue for details.

Until next time, this is Greg VK2GPK.

Table Of Contents

Unravelling the mysteries of connecting radios to antennas
Brian Clarke, VK2GCE

The VK3AQZ HF antenna tuner project - Part 1- First article
Luigi Destefano, VK3AQZ

Experiments with LoRa digital transmissions
Dale Hughes, VK1DSH and Dimitrios Tsifakis, VK2COW

Realistic DX160 receiver
Ray Robinson, VK2NO

More bands and modes for the JS80 receiver
Peter Parker, VK3YE

Simple POWER ON Indicators
Jim Tregellas VK5JST/VK5TR

How to turn an oscilloscope into a TDR for cable fault-finding
Nigel Dudley, VK6NI

Is amateur radio dying, or just asleep at the wheel?
Marc Hillman VK3OHM/VK3IP

VI100AF/VK100AF – 100 years centenary of the Australian Air Force
Stuart Birkin VK8NSB

Amateur TV News
Peter Cossins, VK3BFG

The world of QSL management
Charles Wilmott, M0OXO

Gene Smar, AD3F


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