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Harry Angel sprint May 2. -




Still the story is making it's way across the globe, that of the Radio hams
we have mentioned previously here on WIA National News, Robert Brand VK2URB
and his 12-year-old son Jason VK2FJAB. This time they feature in an article
about their "spaceplane" in UK's "The Register."


Pico balloon piques ham interest

There is still a lot of talk about the small solar-powered Pico balloon that
flew easterly from Australia to Africa, staying up in the jet-stream for
nearly three weeks.

Andy Nguyen VK3YT launched the PS-30 balloon from Melbourne Australia on
December the 27th, which was tracked until the end on January the 16th, at
Madagascar just east of Africa.

Andy VK3YT noted that it had some bad weather. Reports had it at ground level
and stopped.

In the past a downed Pico balloon could dry out and re-launch itself, but
not this time, leading to speculation is that it was attacked by those naughty
Penguins on the Madagascar.

This tongue-in-cheek comment was obviously related to animated movies that
included penguins being shipwrecked on Madagascar.

The Pico was firstly tracked to the southern tip of New Zealand, across the
Pacific Ocean to South America, then to Southern Africa, with a forecast
path to Australia.

This latest Pico balloon had a 13 grams payload that included a 25-milliwatt
transmitter on WSPR and JT9, for payload condition and tracking data.

The balloon had an anxious flight, plagued at times by some poor propagation,
and the fact that it did a few small circles along the way.

Andy VK3YT said at the time the Pico was in the Pacific: "The balloon did
a loop for the whole day and didn't cover much ground distance.

"HF propagation has been different from previous flights. We haven't had
any long range WSPR spots so far. Reception of JT9 packets so far generally
require some type of directional antenna with some gain."

It did however make South America, and then exited for South Africa where
it was tracked by local radio amateurs, across the country before sadly
ending at Madagascar.

Andy VK3YT says: "A big thank you to everyone that assisted with the trip
in many ways, from tracking, to sending feedback, words of encouragement,
and getting help when needed.

"The level of interest from all around the world has been amazing. The trip
would not have been so successful without the collective effort of the
like-minded community built-up along the way."

The launch of the next in the series PS-31 is planned, with Andy VK3YT
saying: "See you at the next trip".

(Jim Linton VK3PC)

The scientists from Swinburne University in Melbourne achieved a world first
when they managed to capture alien radio signals tearing through space in
real time.

While there have been nine recorded findings of fast radio bursts since they
were first discovered in 2007, all of those instances were found in existing

Lead researcher Emily Petroff said the ground-breaking discovery brings
astronomers a step closer to understanding the strange cosmic phenomenon that
has scientists baffled.

"Fast radio bursts only last as long as it takes a human to blink their eye.
That is what makes this discovery so exciting," she said.

The circular shape of the waves recorded was clearly foreign radio bursts
from Earth are usually one plane, and these were two.

Ms Petroff said the origin of the source remained a mystery, but the
researchers believed it had to be huge, cataclysmic and up to 5.5 billion
light years away.

(Various news reports)

To commemorate ANZAC 100 a series of articles appear in Amateur Radio
magazine by the WIA Historian, Peter Wolfenden VK3RV. Here's a summary of
one of them.

Bob Arnold VK3ZBB was well known to many older VHFers through an informative
monthly column in Amateur Radio magazine about AMSAT and amateur satellite
communications. He ventured into early computer based orbit predictions.

Bob constructed his first radio receiver at the age of 16 - about two years
before the outbreak of WWII, while still living in England.

But there was more to him than most realised. While many assumed Bob was
educated in electronics, in reality, he was a Chartered Gas Engineer and
Member of the Fuel Institute and educated at Oxford University.

By the age of 26 he was Deputy Engineer at the Spalding Council Gas Works,
one of the youngest heads of department ever appointed.

Prior to this in 1943, Bob joined the forces and was attached to the Royal
Indian Engineers seeing service in Burma, India, France, Belgium, Holland
and Germany, attaining the rank of Acting Major and Adjutant to the Forward
Airfield Construction Group.

He brought his family to Australia in 1957 and after working for the Colonial
Gas Company, he joined the Gas and Fuel Corporation of Victoria where he
became Chief Engineer and Assistant General Manager. He was President of
the Australian Gas Association.

Bob was the author of the Arnold report in 1978 that advocated a single
national WIA instead of the federal structure. It was then not accepted by
the Federal Council.

He was obviously a man ahead of his time. In 2004 a new single, national
WIA organisation, was formed to meet the ongoing emerging challenges.

Bob was fascinated with satellite communications and proud of one particular
contact, which he would often relate, and that was with the Soviet space
station MIR on the 15th of November, 1988. MIR's first QSOs with the west
included Bob Arnold VK3ZBB who chatted with Soviet cosmonaut Mousa Manarova

The Soviet Embassy confirmed that Australia had been deliberately chosen
as the first in the expansion of "glasnost", or part of the Soviet
government's openness policy.

(Jim Linton VK3PC)


web service:-

The Wyong Field Day is 60 years old.

As with all great events, The Wyong Field Day started small and grew and

It's believed it started in 1955 as a small event at the Gosford Sailing
Club where it stayed for several years before finding a home at the
Gosford Race club for a couple of years. Following the Race Club it
moved up the road a little to the Gosford Showground in the early
seventies which was its home for many years before eventually moving to
its current location at the Wyong racecourse. So this year the Central
Coast Field day is 60 years old!

It appears the event has always been close to the last weekend in
February each year.

This year Sunday Feb 22nd is the 2015 VK2 Wyong Field Day and it is on
come rain hail or shine.

So where will you be in just one months' time - February 22nd? Why not
get along and join the biggest gathering of radio amateurs in Australia
at the CCARC Field Day at the Wyong racecourse?

Just a reminder, if anyone still hasn't registered and wishes to take
the foundation licence class on Saturday the 21st at Wyong, or a licence
assessment on the Field Day itself, all the details you need are on the
field day website at FIELDDAY.ORG.AU

Be quick or you'll be too late!

(Dave VK2DLS, Publicity Officer of the Central Coast Amateur Radio Club.)

VK3 looks for Europe WWFF

For those in Europe particularly those readig and listening to the earlier
edition of this news a special effort is being made January 24, in the
Brisbane Ranges National Park, about an hour by road west of Melbourne,
Australia, hoping that many DX contacts will result.

Tony Hambling VK3VTH will only work on or around 14.244 MHz, the suggested
World Wide Flora and Fauna (WWFF) frequency 0630z-0900z, looking particularly
for Europe but WILL QSO all commers.

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TARC Australia Day Long Weekend Family Radio Camp this weekend

Happening from Friday afternoon 23rd to Monday lunchtime 26th January 2015
at Girl Guides Association of Queensland Campsite and Training Centre,
46-56 Toolakea Beach Road, Bluewater.

VK4WIT will be on-air from the camp to provide directions and contact.

AX4WIT will be on-air on Monday 26th January.

Assessors on site for exams and tutoring.
Foundation Manuals available for sale onsite.

Who listens to radio? A weekly 'tally sheet' is sent to all rebroadcasters
and interested listeners, to get your free copy send a blank email to:-
Put the word subscribe in the title or subject field


What use is an F-call?

Last week I talked about computers and the Foundation License.

There is a blanket perception being perpetuated that computers, radios and
your Foundation License don't mix, are not allowed and if you were to be so
foolhardy as to connect your computer to your radio, you'd be subject to all
manner of retribution from the ACMA. Most of this is based on hear-say and

There's nothing stopping you from connecting your computer to your radio and
for example have it read the current frequency and mode and store that in your
logging software. There's also nothing wrong with using the computer to
change the frequency and mode on your radio, when you click on a DX cluster
entry and it changes the settings on your radio, or if you were to use it to
deal with the Doppler shift to match an overflying satellite.

Computers can also be used to set-up memories, CTCSS codes, preferences and
other settings supported by your radio. It can be used to show waterfall
displays and to decode signals as they come in. You can use a computer to do
audio filtering, digital signal processing and all manner of CPU intensive
activities. You can run a CW skimmer, to decode Morse as it comes past,
connect it to a wide-band receiver and listen to many frequencies at once.
None of this has anything to do with your Foundation License restrictions, or
with the LCD for that matter.

Onto other things. The LCD states that:

"if the emission mode is 200HA1A (or 200 Hertz, Amplitude Modulated, Single
Channel, Telegraphy for aural reception - i.e. Morse Code or CW), the
information to be transmitted is sent by the use of a manually operated Morse

This is stopping you from using your license to send out an automatic beacon.
The aim is to have you as a human, still in the loop. A manually operated
Morse key means that you have to actually push it with your hand. There's
nothing preventing you from using an Iambic Paddle mechanical, or electronic.
As long as you're still punching out the code.

With the advent of Software Defined Radios, the separation between computer
and radio is becoming even more diffuse. If your radio is a computer, another
myth does the rounds.

"A Foundation Call cannot use Software Defined Radio."

This is untrue.

If your SDR was manufactured commercially then you're good to go. Seriously.

You still have the same restrictions on modes and bands, power output and the
like. You cannot send computer generated digital modes, though you can
decode them. The computer in this equation is no different from the previous

Being an F-call is fun, you should try it sometime.

I'm Onno VK6FLAB.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS With thanks to IARU, RSGB, SARL, Southgate AR Club, ARRL,
Amateur Radio Newsline, NZART and the WW sources of the WIA.

Amateur Radio Newsline Editor

The ARRL reports the long-running Amateur Radio Newsline has scaled back
temporarily while its editor, (and vk1wia news contributor) Bill Pasternak,
WA6ITF, recuperates from injuries sustained in a fall at home

He is undergoing additional cardiac and pulmonary testing and rehabilitation
to address some chronic issues. Bill has been in the hospital for nearly a
month, since breaking two ribs in the household mishap on December 18. He was
initially scheduled to stay for a couple of days.

"Right now, Don Wilbanks, AE5DW, is producing a 5 to 6 minute version of
Newsline, and that will continue for another couple of weeks, I guess,"
Pasternak told ARRL. "In 37 years this is the first time we've missed

Wilbanks has been producing a shortened audio/video report, which is included
in the weekly Ham Nation webcast, posted on YouTube, and linked from the
Amateur Radio Newsline website and Facebook page.

Pasternak said the roughly 30-minute weekly audio report and the text script,
posted weekly on, are on hold for now.

Read the full ARRL story at

Dick Flagg, AH6NM, honoured as YASME Excellence Award Winner

Another winner is Dick Flagg, AH6NM, for his years of working with the
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program and its
predecessor Shuttle Amateur Radio EXperiment (SAREX), and for supporting
NASA's Radio Jove project, both designed to introduce Amateur Radio to
students and the general public.

FCC licenses wideband HF data comm experiments

The FCC recently granted two companies experimental licenses to use HF bands
for data communications at far greater bandwidths and data rates than have
been used by amateur radio operators in the USA

Writing in TV Technology Doug Lung says the license application by MITRE aims
to achieve reliable HF communications at a data rate between 1 and 4 bits/Hz/s

MITRE said it will develop a 100 kHz bandwidth waveform that can achieve
approximately 256 kbps with forward error correction (FEC) coding.

Read the article at

HAMNET again shows how it supports the community

South Africa's HAMNET (akin to our WICEN) once again proved its worth to the
community when a 60 year old male in distress, due to an injured ankle,
needed rescue near the top of Platteklip Gorge on Table Mountain.

Low cloud and gale force winds prevented the use of a helicopter.

Many volunteers took time off from work to respond to the call.

First on the scene was Hendre ZU1HV who managed to reach the patient who by
now was almost hypothermic, with some warm and dry clothes.

She was able to communicate a situation report about the patient's exact
location and condition to EMS. The patient was about 10 minutes' walk from
the top of what is approximately a two hour, hike up the mountain.

Adriaan ZS1AVN and Phil ZS1VCC handled communications and logistics from the
base. Two groups of rescuers were involved including Paul ZS1V.

Once the patient was stabilized, the party started carrying the stretcher
down the narrow, rocky path. As the day progressed the rescue party swelled,
with six teams, including Matt, ZS1MTF, and Johann, ZS1JHW, growing the
numbers to a total of about 20 at the end of the operation.

Between them they were able to carry the stretcher over the flatter sections
pass it hand to hand down the steeper sections.

The South African Radio League says the mission was completed just before
18:00 ending an arduous 4 hour mission.

ARRL Library online

The ARRL Library is now online. This online library is a
repository of educational presentations and oral histories.

It will initially consist of three major areas. These will include
PowerPoint presentations that may be used at club meetings,
outreach efforts to the general public or other public
presentations; PDFs of general educational material about amateur
radio, and oral histories of radio amateurs describing their
personal experiences with amateur radio.




VK to G on 600m

Using the new OPERA Dynamic MF/LF beacon mode, VK5CV transmitted
at 16.30 GMT on 15th January using 477kHz and was spotted by
G8HUH, receiving at -37dB.

Data recovered from the PSK-Map database shows the capture to fit
exactly with the OPERA Dynamic time signature. Opera Dynamic
provides an additional 5 or 6dB gain over the conventional Opera
Beacon and is automatically engaged should the decoder fail. The
facility is linked to the OP8 477kHz and OP32 136kHz modes only.

VK5CV reported using 50 watts carrier power to 160m inverted L
with a base loaded variometer. Those involved say that this may
have been one of the 'Flash' propagation events linked to the MF
band; to date UK/EU to VK has yet to be achieved.


Who and Where are our broadcast stations?

This is WIA Director Roger Harrison VK2ZRH with a call for final logs for the
Summer VHF-UHF Field Day, held over the 10th and 11th of January.

Submit your logs, folks - please!

THE DEADLINE IS MIDNIGHT 26th JANUARY - that's tomorrow, Australia Day.

May I suggest you do it before you start on your lamb chops or deep-fried

Get those logs in, people! You never know what might happen.

Gee, way back when, with a newly-minted licence, I entered the John Moyle
Memorial National FD - VHF-only, six metres and two metres, and I won the
VK3 section!

It was the first time it had ever been done. I still have the certificate
- signed by Max Hull (yes, that Hull family) and Keith Roget (who now has a
competition named after him).

A totally unexpected result. It was my first field day and I just entered
for the fun of it.

So - if you participated in the Summer VHF-UHF Field Day and handed out a
few serial numbers - it does not matter if you had just one contact - four
contacts - ten contacts, or a hundred - write up a log and submit it.

Of 159 participants in the Spring 2014 FD, more than 100 didn't submit logs!
And 35 of them had 10 or more contacts.

If you made a small number of contacts, you can prepare a log with nothing
more than a text editor - which is what I did last year.

It's not hard these days. Guidance is on the WIA website, on the VHF UHF
Field Days page under Contests.

You can submit an electronic log using the log upload facility on that page.

Logs uploaded after 2400 Eastern Daylight Saving Time will not be accepted.

For those few remaining souls who feel compelled to send a paper log - you
should have sent it last week!

However, if you missed the post, you can still fax your paper log to
03 9729 7325, ensuring that you send it before 2400 EDST on Monday,
26th January.

So - one contact, ten contacts or one hundred - SUBMIT THAT LOG!

Get cracking!

This is WIA Director Roger Harrison VK2ZRH for VK1WIA News.


Jock White Field Day 2015 Saturday February 28th and Sunday March 1st.

Tablelands Radio Group will again hold AM and CW on ANZAC Day 25 April

Harry Angel sprint conducted on 80 metres May 2.



On air now until January 26th from Iran.
Complete details DXW.Net
This IOTA DXPedition is by a 10 member team from Kish Island (AS-166) on
160-10m; CW SSB RTTY.

Special event station TC 100 GLB is QRV until April 30 to commemorate
"Gallipoli" 100 years ago. Activity is on the HF bands using SSB, RTTY
and PSK. QSL via TA 1 CM.

GB1BST - British Summer Time 2015

Woody's Top Youth Hostel in Lincolnshire will be the venue for the
2015 GB 1 BST Special Event Station, celebrating the start of British
Summer Time, on March 27-29

Situated on the Greenwich Meridian between Louth and Horncastle,
Woody's Top is a rather remote and quiet location in the southern part
of the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Radio operations are scheduled to start late on 27th March with test
transmissions on the 40m, 20m, 17m and 2m bands which will be used during
the weekend event.


On the occasion of the 90th anniversary of IARU Danish radio amateurs will be
active with a special event call, OZ9IARU, in the period now until
December 31, 2015

All bands inclusive WARC-bands and all modes may be used.
Exceptions are cross-mode, cross-band contacts and contacts via repeater and

They have created an award for this special event.


Gold award: QSO on 4 different bands
Silver award: QSO on 3 different bands
Bronze award: QSO on 2 different bands

European stations:

Gold award: QSO on 7 different bands
Silver award: QSO on 5 different bands
Bronze award: QSO on 3 different bands

All QSOs must be with the same call sign but regardless of the mode
to get the award.

Further details at

WW SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS --- ATV (Every pixel tells a story) - Video

Free Android SSTV Encoder/Decoder Software

Ahmet Inan and his wife, Olga Miller, have teamed up to develop some very
nice open source SSTV software for Android devices.

Olga has written the "SSTV Encoder" while Ahmet wrote the SSTV Decoder named,
"Robot36 - SSTV Image Decoder".

Ahmet says he would like to keep the name Robot36 even though the app is able
to decode more than just the Robot36 as a great respect for the Robot
engineers who developed the awesome Robot36 mode.

It currently supports the following modes:
Robot Modes: 36 & 72
Martin Modes: 1 & 2
Scottie Modes: 1, 2 & DX
Wrasse Modes: SC2 180

"Robot36 - SSTV Image Decoder" is available for free on Google Play and also
via GitHub.



Radio ham interviewed about Beagle 2

Essex-born radio amateur Dave Rowntree M6DRQ was interviewed on Channel 5 TV
news in the UK about the Beagle 2 Mars mission

Dave, formerly drummer in the band Blur, is currently a DJ on London radio
station XFM 104.9 MHz.

On December 25, 2003 the pioneering UK spacecraft Beagle 2, developed by a
team led by Professor Colin Pillinger, landed on Mars, however, communications
with it could not be established. This meant it was not known if the landing
had been successful or where on the planet it was.

On July 30, 2004 Professor Pillinger gave a presentation about Beagle 2 to
the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium in Guildford, he received a
standing ovation from the audience.

On January 16, 2015 it was announced that Beagle 2 had been located in images
taken of Mars. These confirmed it had made a successful soft landing on the
planet. Sadly Professor Pillinger had passed away a few months earlier on
May 7, 2014.

Fox-1A Launch Date

AMSAT has received a launch date for the Fox-1A satellite. Fox-1A will
be launched on August 27, 2015 on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5
rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California on the NROL-55 flight
for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

Fox-1A Operating Frequencies include:

Uplink 435.180 MHz FM
Downlink 145.980 MHz FM

A Youth Net meets Saturdays at 0100 UTC on IRLP Reflector #2.
Young Hams Net 3.590 - 7:30pm Victorian time.
Youngsters On The Air, YOTA

5th annual Youngsters On the Air (YOTA)

The 5th annual Youngsters On The Air (YOTA) event will take place in
Marina Di Massa, Tuscany, Italy, from 18-25 July 2015.

Further details are available at


Jan 23-26 VK4 TARC Australia Day Long Weekend Family Radio Camp, Bluewater.

Feb 7 VK3 Homebrew Construction Group 2pm ARVic 40g Victory Bld Ashburton.
Feb 22 VK2 Central Coast Amateur Radio Club Wyong Field Day.

March 21 VK3 Dstar Users Group 9am Woodend RSL Anslow St.
March 29 VK3 EMDRC Hamfest

April 18 VK4 REDFest (Redcliffe Radio Club Event)

May 1-3 VK4 Clairview Gathering contact RADAR's VK4ACC 04 2963 2815
May 9 VK4 BARCFEST Brisbane

June 6-7 VK2 Queens Birthday 40th annual Oxley Region Field Day

July 1 VK4 Caboolture Hamfest
July 11-12 VK3 GippsTech 2015

Sept 12 VK4 SUNFEST Woombye
Sept 25-27 VK4 CHARC AGM Weekend Camp Fairbairn near Emerald

Oct 2-5 VK4 Cardwell Gathering, Beachcomber Motel and Tourist Park
Oct 25 VK4 Gold Coast Hamfest Broadbeach


I can't say you heard this first but last week, the word came out that a
veteran of the broadcast industry was at last collecting the gold watch.
Yes, the News Editor for WIA National News and VK4 QNews is calling it a
day after 54 years in the industry.

Graham, VK 4 Baker Baker, has been receiving so many messages and tributes
since the news broke a week ago, that no-one can mistake the great regard
and high reputation of this veteran of radio broadcasting in Brisbane.

Graham has technical qualifications and vast experience in production,
presentation and management and is retiring as the General Manager of the
Radio TAB network.

Let's hope that Graham gets more time for the shack as the studio demands
get passed on.

I think there is a book this, Graham.

This has been Geoff, VK4ZPP

(Thanks for your kind words Geoff..Ed.)

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