September - October 2023
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The theme for this issue – When all else fails – had its roots in an article that was drawn to my attention when published mid-year in a local industry magazine. It was about how local amateurs had helped the authorities respond to the disastrous impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle that scoured Aukland in mid-February this year.
I chased down the author, Don Robertson ZL2TR, ZK6EX, who is the CEO of NZART’s Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (AREC), New Zealand’s counterpart to WICEN.
Don was very forthcoming in enabling me to bring the story to Amateur Radio magazine. Indeed, although he had the story published on the NZART website, he gave me a version with additional material. What’s more, he supplied all the operational photos. Many thanks to Don.
Déjà vu made real
Now that the feature has been ‘put to bed,’ while composing this piece, I was brought up short by a vivid press headline today, reading:
“Bushfire season hits full swing as one town evacuated, six more under threat.”
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services issued a Prepare to Leave warning this afternoon for areas north of Brisbane, and issuing Stay Informed warnings for two other areas in the state.
Meanwhile, residents in the rural town of Emerald in central Queensland were told to immediately leave their homes yesterday (a Sunday) as a fast-moving bushfire approached. The fire was brought under control by Monday afternoon, fortunately, once firefighters had slogged for hours battling the aggressive blaze in sweltering weather.
In NSW, volunteers of the Rural Fire Service (RFS) had worked overnight to bring a bushfire under control as it had threatened properties at the township of Neath. NSW RFS commissioner, Rob Rogers, said that firefighters were still working on the state’s north coast to contain fires in the face of increasing temperature and worsening.
There were reports that the Tasmanian Fire Service posted a “Bushfire Advice” warning for the Colebrook Area today, counselling residents to keep watch on conditions.
It’s all a prescient reminder that natural disasters remain an ever-present threat.
Event support aids disaster skills
Amateur radio clubs and groups providing support for community events, especially annual ones – including marathon runs, rural sports carnivals, or aircraft spectaculars – is a long-standing tradition the world over.
As Phil Wait VK2ASD outlines in his article on amateur radio’s future role in Australian emergency communications – this type of activity enables, in a pleasant and productive way, the honing of skills you can bring to bear in emergency situations, should that be on an organised and coordinated basis (as for WICEN groups), or being caught serendipitously in a small-scale but serious disaster such as a road accident, off-road driving mishap, or perhaps a maritime calamity.
There will be coverage of this aspect of amateur radio in coming editions, hopefully next issue.
Eagle-eyed readers will no doubt have already noticed the column introduced this issue called “Listening In,” on page 11.
It was prompted by three readers who made contact – one who lamented the passing of the Spotlight on SWLing column authored over decades from 1982 by Robin Harwood VK7RH (SK), also noted by members of the Publications Committee, another one who observed that few amateur band contests these days cater for shortwave listeners by accepting logs from them, whereas the third stalwart suggested that, while he was a keen reader and liked most of what he read, he’d like there to be stuff for scanning enthusiasts.
Consider it done. This first column must start somewhere, so it is largely an introduction to the broad hobby of listening on the airwaves.
WIA President's Comment
Celebrating 90 years of the WIA’s Amateur Radio magazine
In the fast-paced digital age, where trends come and go in the blink of an eye, longevity is a virtue that commands admiration. This October, the journal of the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) proudly celebrates a monumental milestone – 90 years of uninterrupted publication of Amateur Radio magazine. This is the official journal of the institute.
As the pages turn on this remarkable journey, we find ourselves reflecting not only on the past but also on the continued significance of amateur radio in our modern world.
The WIA’s commitment to fostering a sense of community and education within the realm of amateur radio is evident in this enduring publication. Over the decades, the magazine has stood as a beacon of knowledge, innovation, education, and collaboration, providing amateur enthusiasts with a platform to share insights, experiences, and technological advancements.
It has served as a vital bridge connecting generations of radio enthusiasts, allowing them to explore their passion, exchange ideas, and contribute to the evolution of the field.
To mark this occasion, the WIA presents the VK90AR special event call sign as a testament to the organization’s dedication to engaging the global amateur radio community. This special event call sign will be running until December 31st and offers a unique opportunity for enthusiasts to come together, celebrate their shared interests, and continue the legacy of wireless communication. Bookings to utilise the special event call sign is available on the WIA website.
The Board of the WIA are proud of the history of our magazine and commends the work of the Amateur Radio magazine Publications Committee.
WIA Education Committee
The importance of education and training in the amateur radio realm cannot be overstated, and the WIA Education group deserves accolades for their commitment.
Their review of the foundation course and assessment is underway. In addition, they are also due to commence work on the higher-level courses. We congratulate the WIA Education Committee for their hard work and dedication to the education of existing and aspiring amateurs.
Bequests and Legacies
Last issue, a letter to the Editor (Volume 91 Edition No 4 Page 63) from a member asked what can be done by way of bequests and legacies to the Institute. This letter has been answered on the Over To You pages elsewhere in this edition.
Last issue I advised that several new and existing positions that needed to be filled by members to assist the Board in the operation of the institute. By now, several vacancies will have been filled and advertised on the WIA website News pages and in the weekly broadcasts. We are pleased to confirm the following appointments:
Technical Advisory Committee – Chair – Grant Willis VK5GR
Technical Advisory Committee – Technical Advisor C4FM – Peter Jung VK5JP
Technical Advisory Committee – Technical Advisor DMR – Peter Brennan VK3TE
Technical Advisory Committee – Technical Advisor P25 – Steve Kennedy VK6SJ
Ross Hull Memorial VHF / UHF Contest Manager – Tom Blunt VK2TBC
Youth on the Air (YOTA) Co-ordinator – Steve Kennedy VK6SJ
Youth on the Air (YOTA) Deputy Co-ordinator – Alec Cherry VK2APC
Spectrum Strategy Committee – Standards Australia TE-003 and TE-003/19 – Peter Pokorney VK2EMR
WIA National and Inwards QSL Manager – Mike Adams VK3KMA
We thank the following retiring members for their hard work and assistance to the Institute:
Retiring Ross Hull Memorial VHF / UHF Contest Manager – Ted Thrift VK2ARA
Spectrum Strategy Committee – Standards Australia TE-003 – Ron Cook VK3AFW
WIA National & Inwards QSL Manager – John Seamons VK3JLS
The WIA runs almost entirely on volunteer assistance. We have only one paid employee who operates out of our national office. The seven Board members of the Institute and well over 100 committee and group members are all unpaid volunteers who run this Institute for the benefit and betterment of the Amateur Radio Service. Without our army of hard-working volunteers, we simply would not be able to operate.
The Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) represents a federation of bodies that collectively represent the Amateur Radio Service in Australia. The WIA has over 3000 direct members plus approximately 150 affiliated Radio and Electronics clubs throughout Australia.
The WIA is recognised both nationally and internationally as the only national body representing all radio amateurs in Australia, originally established in 1910, and is the oldest peak body in the world, predating both the British Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) and the American ARRL.
The WIA is recognised by the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), an international confederation of national amateur radio organisations, as the sole Australian Amateur Radio peak body.
The IARU is subsequently recognised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as the representative of the interests of its member societies and radio amateurs throughout the world. The IARU is a Sector Member of the ITU Radio Communication and Development sectors. The ITU is a specialist agency of the United Nations (UN).
This year will see the World Radio Conference 2023 (WRC-23), convened about every 3 – 4 years, being held from 20 November to 15 December. The WIA has been a part of the international delegation by the Australian Government to respective World Radio Conferences from Australia for many years.
In the lead-up to WRC-23, there have been six preliminary meetings, all of which are attended by the WIA representatives. The final preparatory meeting was held in August 2023 in Brisbane, Queensland. WIA Director, Peter Schrader VK4EA attended the 1-week meeting as an observer, in conjunction with our two delegates.
WRC-23 will be held over the four weeks in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The WIA will have two delegates attending, Dale Hughes VK1DSH and Peter Pokorny VK2EMR, who will both attend for the entire four weeks. We thank our delegates for their participation.
The financial burden on the Institute to attend these preliminary meetings and the final four weeks of WRC-23 to be held in Dubai cannot be overstated. It is only with the financial assistance of our members’ subscriptions we are able to undertake this mammoth task. Also, thanks to our affiliated organisations who have assisted the Institute financially.
The WIA is committed to supporting the Amateur Radio Service in Australia and your membership fees help us achieve this. We thank our members for their commitment to the WIA and thereby assisting to retain our bands for our ongoing use and experimentation.
Table Of Contents
Listening In - Roger Harrison VK2ZRH
New Zealand radio amateurs’ to Cyclone Gabrielle - Don Robertson ZL2TYR, ZK6EX
Considering amateur radio’s future in Australian emergency communications - Phil Wait VK2ASD
Amateur radio plays a role in new Emergency Management Centre on Qld Gold Coast - Roger Harrison VK2ZRH
WestNews - Will McGhie VK6UU
75th Anniversary of the Geelong Amateur Radio Club VK3ATL - Tony Collis VK3JGC
2023 Pilliga Park-fest report - Marty Nelson VK4KC
Tripping over a stumbling block on where exams were held - Jules Perrin VK3JFP
Women make their mark across the century - Linda Luther VK7QP
Below 25: Scouts and Guides geedup for Jamboree on the Air and the Internet - Alec Cherry VK2APC
Homebrew three-band 100 W transceiver- Lou Destafano VK3AQZ
Nifty mod for the Poppin’ Pulser project - Keith Gooley VK5OQ
Using a supercapacitor as battery for the Icom IC-7300 - Peter Forbes VK3QI, VJ3P
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