September - October 2021
September - October 2021
WIA Member Digital Edition Download
Forgive me while I take a déjà vu moment. Here I am, back in the saddle again (with that song from Sleepless in Seattle ringing in my ears) pulling together the threads of a special feature covering the adventures of Australian amateurs in Antarctica, from the ‘intrepid era’ of the 1970s through to the present day. This was an inspired idea from the Publications Committee, and driven by Brian VK2GCE. Amateur radio and radio amateurs have been a consistent thread since the exploration days of Douglas Mawson; Wal Hannam XQI sailed with Mawson before WW1, fulfilling several roles, including communications.
When Phillip Law launched Antarctic research expeditions for the Australian government following WW2, I think there has been hardly a year without amateurs on Australian scientific expeditions down south. In the early days, Antarctica was first allocated the VK1 prefix, VK0 coming later. The year of the Captain Cook Bicentennial, 1970, brought the first use of the AX prefix for all VKs; opportunities for AX0 have been much prized since then.
Fortuitously, 2021 is the 60th anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty, signed by 48 nations in 1959 to ensure freedom of scientific exploration and the exclusion of military activity and mineral exploitation. Many nations have established research stations on the Antarctic continent and across some sub-Antarctic islands over the past 50 years.
While amateurs of many nations can be found on-air from down south every year, Antarctic stations seem to hold a special lure for amateur operators across the rest of the globe. Perhaps the Antarctic is seen as a fabled place in their minds; I know it was for me when I first learned as a teenager that people lived and worked there. Further still, being able to talk to someone there via radio, when they were way over the horizon and well out of sight, was tantamount to unbelievable. My bank manager certainly thought so when he denied my loan application to buy a camera before I sailed for Casey back in 1970.
The ACMA is pursuing a crowded work program as it proceeds to fulfil the activities set out in its Five Year Spectrum Outlook (5YSO). The WIA Spectrum Strategy Committee has had to consider a veritable torrent of consultations and respond to every one likely to impact the Amateur Service. The Committee has been remarkably busy this year developing considered responses where agreement was reached that responding was necessary. Every now and then a proposition put forward in a submission gets taken up more or less as set out. So, we celebrate every small win. Keep your eye on our news pages for reports from the Spectrum Strategy Committee.
Many readers will no doubt recall the recent ACMA consultation on 2x1 call signs. This has been a contentious issue for decades, going as far back as the mid-1990s WIA submission to government on amateur licensing that later led to the 2003 amateur licensing review and the introduction of the Foundation licence. Patterns of call sign construction and use were recognised and raised as an issue back then. The wheels of government grind ever slowly, but they do keep moving.
I understand that there has been quite a strong response from the amateur fraternity to this latest ACMA consultation and many amateurs are waiting with bated breath to read the regulator’s response. That said, there are also many amateurs who could not give a hoot about the subject, let alone any response from our regulator.
To each their own.
PubCom has launched a reader survey – see page 7.
Roger Harrison VK2ZRH
WIA President's Comment
from Scott Williams, VK3KJ
A warm welcome to Edition 5 of AR Magazine for 2021.
Passing of the baton
As many of you would be aware, previous President, Greg Kelly, VK2GPK, completed his term as President and did not re-nominate for the role, having announced his intentions at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) just a few months ago.
Greg then continued in the role as President till the first Board meeting immediately following the AGM, where he formally stepped aside, and I was honoured to be selected as the new President of the WIA with Lee Moyle, VK3GK, selected as the Vice-President.
On behalf of the WIA I would like to thank Greg for his service and commitment to the Institute. Greg completed two terms as the President and prior to this was the Vice-President for one year. During Greg’s tenure as President, he suffered a tremendous personal impact when catastrophic bushfires raged through NSW, damaging Greg’s rural property causing considerable damage to his home and infrastructure on his property.
Greg remains on the Board as a Director; we wish him well as he focuses on rebuilding and hopefully returning to some form of normality in his life. Greg has told me personally that he looks forward to getting back six to seven hours a week of his life where he is not responding to emails relating to amateur radio. Good luck Greg and we all wish you the very best.
WIA Office – Please bear with us
It is no secret that the WIA has struggled these past 12 months to deal with a range of issues in the national office in Melbourne caused by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many of you would have communicated with the WIA Executive Officer, Bruce Deefholts. Bruce is the only employee of the WIA; other volunteers assist the Institute across a wide range of activities. Unfortunately, the impacts of COVID-19 and the extended lockdowns in Victoria have meant Bruce has worked from home more than 50% of time. Unfortunately the activities of the WIA are not classified as an essential service or permitted activity.
This has meant simple tasks like clearing the mailbox, processing membership applications sent in via mail, processing and despatching orders, collecting and banking cheques and responding to correspondence sent in via mail is just not as simple as it once was.
As I write this Board Comment, Victoria continues to be in lockdown #6 with Bruce having very limited opportunity to drive into the office to try to clear the mailbox and attend to some of the activities that can only be conducted in the office.
In addition to this, we have been experiencing some technical issues with our ticketing system ‘WIA Concierge’ with considerable spam and stray emails clogging or congesting the system.
The Board is acutely aware of the need to service our members better and be more outward looking through these challenging times; it is embarking on a range of system improvements to streamline many of its processes. To create efficiencies, the Board has actioned an external audit on some of its systems to make much needed improvements. Hopefully, the Board can report positive progress in the very near future.
I would ask all you who deal with the WIA office for your understanding through these challenging times and hopefully we will all be out of lockdown and restrictions soon, so the WIA can return to some normal level of operation.
In closing, I want to welcome back on board to drive the AR Magazine, Editor in Chief, Roger Harrison, VK2ZRH. It is wonderful to have Roger’s expertise again invested in the production of this publication with the tremendous support of the Publications Committee (PubCom).
I hope you and your families and friends stay safe and well through these difficult times across Australia and thank you to all our members and volunteers who support the WIA in its endeavours.
73 de Scott, VK3KJ
Table Of Contents
WIA Spectrum Strategy Committee news
Grant Willis, VK5GR
Antarctica draws high interest
Brian Clarke, VK2GCE
Antarctica and the Australian Antarctic Program
Rex Moncur, VK7MO
AX0GR. Casey 1970-71
Roger Harrison, VK2ZRH
VK0CC. Mawson 1970-71
Colin Christiansen, VK2BCC
VK0PF. Casey 1971-72
Phil Fitzherbert, VK3FF
VK0KG. Casey 1974-75
Keith Gooley, VK5OQ
VK0LH. Casey 1988-89
Owen Holmwood, VK2AEJ
VK0DE. Davis 1993-95
Dale Hughes, VK1DSH
VK0MQI. Macquarie Is.
Peter Pokorny, VK2EMR
VK0PD. Casey 2021
Paul Daniels, VK0PD
Bouvet Island update
Roger Harrison, VK2ZRH
Rig Review - Xiegu G90 transceiver ~ see below
Alan McPhail, VK2AMC
Unravelling the mysteries of connecting radios to antennas - Part 2
'The Squeakie' – An RF field strength meter with audible indicator
Peter Parker, VK3YE
Files For Download
Page Last Updated: Friday, 24 Sep 2021 at 14:43 hours by Armag