November - December 2021
Issue 6 / November - December 2021
WIA Member Digital Edition Download
I took advantage recently of an invitation from Trent Sampson, VK4TS to see serious contesters in action at contest station VK4KW during the Oceania DX Contest – Phone, the first full weekend of October.
Located on a rural property away from the QRM of urban and other places where population density brings the fog of QRM from consumer electronics, the Lambda Contest Group has built up a contest station facility over a number of years that is arguably competitive with some of the big guns located in Asia, Europe and even the Americas. It is certainly one of the Top 5 contest stations in the Southern Hemisphere.
The members of the Lambda Contest Group have put considerable thought, effort and, yes, dollars into antenna systems, and that includes the feedlines. The clear philosophy is that heard so often when antennas are discussed – “if you can’t hear ‘em, you can’t work ‘em”. That said, however, in typical ham fashion, antenna towers have been recycled from other amateur stations, SK estates and sundry farm property sales. Considerable ‘rural ingenuity’ has been employed very effectively across many of the antenna facilities, particularly for the low bands of 80-m and 160-m.
On arrival at VK4KW, we were greeted by the cockeyed Quad featured on this issue’s front cover. The 4-element, 15-m Quad – designed and home-built by David Clifford, VK4UC – looked more like it was set to do moonbounce than terrestrial DX! There was some good-natured chiacking over it as a small group of us attempted to bend it back more toward the horizontal, using ropes rather than dismantling it and replacing the vertical mounting pipe.
The effort put into reducing the Quad’s skew wasn’t entirely successful, but it was figured that it would take more time than there was left before the contest’s start. Nevertheless, the cockeyed Quad’s performance when the 15-m band opened over the weekend proved to be ‘better than satisfactory’.
The Lambda Contest Group ran a Multi-Multi station with, as the category title suggests, multiple rigs, each on different bands, with each rig run by an individual operator. It’s about serious fun. The ear-to-ear grin on one operator’s face after a 3-hour stint during the early hours of the Sunday morning said it all. I wasn’t quick enough with my mobile phone camera, dammit!
Best wishes for the season to all our readers, advertisers, WIA Board members, Publications Committee, printers and distributors.
Phew! What a year was that, eh?
Roger Harrison, VK2ZRH, VJ2N
Editor in Chief
WIA President's Comment
Contest 2x1 callsigns – wrap up.
WIA Vice President. Lee Moyle, VK3GK
Wednesday, 13 October 2021, at 10am, will be remembered by many VK contesters as “Frenzy Day”.
The instant demand at exactly 10am for 2x1 contesting callsigns definitely stress tested the Australian Maritime College (AMC) website in more ways than one.
Luckily, for all those applying it was a serious pile up, with anxious feelings of missing out, waiting impatiently for that 2x1 page refresh, not unlike waiting to hear the rare DX return your callsign and then, when propagation shifts and that rare one you need for honour roll, unfortunately, is all but gone.
It seems many felt they may have been a ‘Busted Call’ or ‘Not In Log’ (NIL) during the frenzy.
Understandably, the AMC office has been inundated with phone calls. Let us sincerely hope that the callers were understanding and respectful of the AMC office staff who continue to do an excellent job at managing ‘all things Amateur Radio’, including examination processing and callsign recommendations, etc.
The day one results were actually quite surprising as, after all the dust settled, only about 138 callsigns were allocated out of about 702 . . . or around 19.5%.
The highest demand was for 2x1s from the eastern states of VK3, VK2 and VK4 in that order, with many now allocated. The ‘VJ’ and ‘VL’ prefixes seemingly not so popular, however, still being sought after for use in general and WPX-type contesting.
More interesting to note is that not a single VK9 2x1 callsign has been allocated. VK3 has had more issued than all of VK1, VK5, VK6, VK7 and VK8 combined. Who would have even considered that so many contesters lived in VK3?
A snapshot on day seven, which was Wednesday the 20th of October, reveals that only another 156 callsigns had been allocated, or at least removed from the AMC ‘available 2x1 callsigns’ register. The list showed fewer than 10 available in VK3, but many still unclaimed from all the other states; collectively some 408 remained. This reflects around 43% of the available 702 2x1 callsigns had been allocated a week after Frenzy Day.
Considerable thanks need to be given to all the members of VK Contest Club (VKCC) who inspired and began this 2x1 callsign project well over 10 years ago, and who continually pushed the 2x1 callsign agenda.
The WIA thanks all stakeholders and individuals who contributed to the success of this long-term project. In particular, the WIA congratulates the AMC for a successful release and implementation of the 2x1 callsign blocks to the amateur radio contesting community.
To apply for a 2x1 Contest callsign (Advanced only), go to the AMC website and follow the instructions:
STOP PRESS: Monday 1/11/21, with the CQWW SSB contest now over, it was great to see so many new contest callsigns being used for the first time along with many new contesters trying out this competitive facet of amateur radio. AMC delivered in a timely fashion, just in time for the biggest global HF contest on the calendar.
The responses from the international contesting community was varied from “what is the rest of your suffix” to “great to hear VK now has contest callsigns.”
It will take some time for the 2x1s to be less confusing as many seasoned contesters just ‘know’ that VKs don’t have any single letter suffixes in contests . . . until now, that is.
Three of your WIA directors, who are also active contesters, have 2x1 contest callsigns. Did you manage to log one of them over the CQWW weekend and were unaware?
If you participated in the CQWW contest and used a 2x1 callsign, the WIA would like to hear your thoughts on their use. Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will collate and present them to our readers in the near future.
WIA meets with ACMA
During October, the WIA met with the ACMA to discuss several important topics, including the new class licensing proposals, how the ARPANSA (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency) criteria of EMR compliance will integrate with the potentially new Amateur licencing structure, some of the finer points of the 2x1 callsigns, along with the FYSO (Five Year Spectrum Outlook) and the effects it will have on the radio amateur community long term.
ACMA welcomed the opportunity to meet with the WIA and were accepting that the previous very detailed submission on amateur licensing arrangements provided the ACMA with significant detail and knowledge to consider.
Regarding Amateur licencing arrangements, ACMA advise that the submission to its leadership group (effectively, its ‘Board’ or governing authority) was almost complete and would go forward shortly. The next step, once approved, is to proceed with a ‘Response to Submissions’ and suggested steps going forward. This was most likely to occur Jan/Feb 2022, a busy time for both WIA and ACMA.
ACMA advised that the update on changes for the Amateur Service related to the ARPANSA EME Standard would consist of the intention to lift the current requirements from the Apparatus LCD into the new regulatory framework. There is no intention to impose any additional burden on amateurs. WIA finds this is an acceptable approach as any changes would entail a large educational requirement and that education in this area would be a necessity anyway.
The 2x1 Contest callsigns have been a great success and ACMA is not considering imposing any further operating conditions. It will be up to the amateur community to come to a consensus that reflects the international view of contesting criteria and appropriate use of the 2x1 contesting callsigns.
In addition, ACMA mentioned that it is working on the process for assigning Repeater and Beacon apparatus licences. The WIA’s role in developing international bandplans was acknowledged. Discussions with the ACMA and other parties are ongoing, with the WIA developing a framework document for comment as a way of progressing to a suitable arrangement.
The discussions and outcome were robust and the WIA thanked the ACMA for incorporating the WIA into its very busy schedule.
A full report will be released shortly on the WIA website.
Table Of Contents
Exploring a half-square wire antenna on 40 metres
Phil Wait, VK2ASD
Propagation – map your log!
Roger Harrison, VK2ZRH
Steady Eddie portable squid pole mount
Ben Broadbent, VK5BB
Digital display VSWR and RF power meter to 250 watts PEP
Jim Tregellas, VK5JST
Unravelling the mysteries of connecting radios to antennas - Part 3
Following space weather online
Simon Rumble, VK2VSR
The VK3AQZ HF antenna tuner project - Part 1 Third article
Luigi Destefano, VK3AQZ
Managing spectrum in challenging times
WIA Spectrum Strategy Committee
For the record
What a weekend – HF moonbounce
Rex James, VK3OF
Corrections & Errata
Editor in Chief
Page Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 Nov 2021 at 12:39 hours by Armag