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Just when you thought it was safe to venture out onto airwaves we are back!

Yes I'm Graham VK4BB with our usual cast again this week, VK4FUQ Felix, Jason
VK2LAW, Onno VK6FLAB, and also VK4VP, VK6CSW and VK4JJW. And bobbing up
for more this week the guys who kept the news rolling whilst I was OS,
Bryan VK3GR and Robert VK3DN thanks gents!

One of our locals who made the trek across to VK9 last week, and very quitely
celebrated a milestone birthday, was reporter VK54JJW John Williams.

You've probably heard of "The Thornbirds", a world best seller novel, and
then, TV series, written by long time resident of Norfolk Island, Australian
Colleen McCulloch who passed away just last year and now rests forever on this
verdant rock in the middle of the South Pacific.

Now, the Wireless Institute of Australia has put Colleen's home on the map
again by holding its Annual General Meeting over the last weekend of May in
the 35 square kilometer or 14 square mile island paradise with almost 100
Amateur Radio Operators and their partners making the "bit over 2 hour" flight
from the mainland, and staying there, for at least the three day occasion.
Some hams have made it a real break and stayed for a week! Flying is the
easiest way to get there because ships sometimes have to anchor offshore for
weeks, waiting for calm seas to transfer goods and people.

In recent years the WIA AGM has been held in different places all around
Australia and so it was fitting that we journey to a soon to be made, official
part of the country.

Norfolk Island is an Australian External Territory just 1300 Km or 900 miles
off the east coast. With a resident population of around 1500, it has very
few hams, and with the passing several years ago of avid Norfolk Island
resident Dxer, "Island Chaser" Jim Smith VK9NS, there have been very few
opportunities since, to work this rare location.

Some of the latest visitors even went to the trouble and expense of arranging
their very own VK9 call, expressly to activate the island again, if only for
a short time. But then, that makes it even more desirable for the DX hound
doesn't it!

When the formalities and socialising of the AGM weekend didn't get in the way,
there was a fair amount of "CQ DX" happening from the land of the Norfolk
Pine tree, hundreds of thousands of them

An unforgettable experience, from someone who was there too!

I'm the intrepid traveller, John, VK4JJW


The Trans-Indian Ocean beacon was years in the planning, but the experiment
is over.

Jason Daniels, VK2LAW, tells us more:

It was supposed to help enable better VHF transmissions along the challenging
path between South Africa and Australia. But now the VK6RIO Trans-Indian Ocean
beacon is about to be no more.

The 2-meter beacon, using Chirp-modulation, had been a project of the
Northern Corridor Radio Group in Perth, Australia. It was designed to detect
openings on 144 MHz across the Indian Ocean via tropospheric ducting and
enable deeper study of propagation conditions across the Indian Ocean. The VHF
path between the two nations exceeds 8500 kilometres and the beacon's
frequency was 144.950 MHz.

Researchers had great hope for its success: Chirp modulation can be detected
50 decibels below the noise floor in a bandwidth of 2kHz. But with the
depreciating South African Rand and a lack of local support, researchers
have called the project off.

I'm Jason Daniels, VK2LAW, and I'll be back later in this WIA News Program
with international news including how 144 MHz HAS made it across the Atlantic.

Australia pico ballooner honoured

The Wireless Institute of Australia has recognised the record breaking
achievements of Andy Nguyen VK3YT by naming him in its WIA Merit Award
program, while one of his pico party-type balloons VK9WI flew at high

Andy VK3YT was given the WIA Technical Excellence Award for his work with
the pico space balloons, including one that circumnavigated the Southern
Hemisphere nearly three times.

In the middle of 2015 pico balloon PS-46 floated more than 110,800 km before
descending into the Indian Ocean due to bad weather.

Additionally Andy VK3YT while on a working holiday also floated and tracked
two solar powered pico balloons that he launched in the USA.

The prestigious WIA Technical Excellence Award was granted amid warm applause
by those at the annual general meeting held on Saturday May 28 on Norfolk
Island. Andy VK3YT who was unable to be at the AGM was later very humble in
receiving the award for what many see as pioneering work and a new era for
small solar powered balloons carrying Amateur Radio payloads.

The PS balloons have sparked a lot on interest among trackers throughout the
world, and is known to have given a few radio amateurs a new challenge.

For the occasion the balloon PS-64 was launched that included a greeting
message to the WIA AGM using the VK9WI callsign for its tracking telemetry,
but it was brought down by poor weather. However, Andy was ready with a
back-up the VK9WI balloon and launched PS-65 that initially headed south to
Tasmania, then across to New Zealand and at last report moved southerly
toward South America.

Like his recent balloon that latest PS-65 has a 25mW transmitter using
WSPR and JT9 on the 30m band.

(Jim Linton VK9PC)

What use is an F-call?

During the week we were subjected to some unusual lightning activity. There
was lots to go around and it raises the issue on what to do when lightning
is nearby.

The obvious comments about disconnecting your radio from your antenna is
pretty common knowledge, but there are other things that might happen that you hadn't thought about. Lightning is an electrostatic discharge, and strangely enough, RF is closely related, in that your antenna system converts electric energy into voltages that you then insert into your radio.

So, lightning will just as easily affect your antenna as it does your radio.

We have a basic understanding that a lightning strike directly into the radio
is a good way to let out the magic smoke and a comment should be made that you
don't need lightning for this to happen; just static electricity in the air
is enough to build up enough charge for your radio to die. It's not uncommon
to see sparks between the center and shield on an antenna connector while
thunderstorms are about.

While all this is going on, I'd also like to point out that the feed-line can
be affected by lightning and it doesn't have to be a direct strike. Your coax
may be heated up, a short might happen, a connector might be affected and if
you have lightning arrestors, they might be fused.

The point of this is that even if you disconnected your antenna from your
radio to protect it, the rest of the system might be affected and it pays to
check the state of your antennas and feed-lines before resuming the operation
of your station. If you don't, you may find yourself in a situation where
your radio survived the lightning storm, only to die when you put full power
into your antenna system.

Finally, lightning doesn't only have to come from above. If you are near a
strike, the earth might come up and bite your hardware from the other end,
it's called earth potential rise or EPR and it can kill. The killer isn't
that there is a high potential, it's that there is a difference in potential.
From the impact point of lightning, potential is dissipated in all directions.
As the distance from the impact point increases, the potential decreases.

Imagine a field where lightning strikes. Cows who are facing the lightning
will have a different potential between their fore and rear legs, causing a
current to flow through their bodies, including the heart. This is enough to
kill. A cow standing side on has the same effect, but the distance is the
width of the cow, not it's length, so the currents are less.

This same phenomenon happens within your station. The earthing system, the
radio, power supply and the like.

So, lightning, it can ruin your day if it hits directly, but you should pay
attention to it even if it didn't hit you.

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.

GK 4 LOH received over 3467 km on 144 MHz

We have received news that a reflection from the structure of the International
Space Station enabled a 144.175 MHz signal from Tim GK 4 LOH in Cornwall to cross
the Atlantic !

At 02:40 UTC May 24th 2016 ISS Flypast. Signal heard 2 minutes 45 into the
recording and continued for over a minute. The transmitted message was

In what's being called an unprecedented move, nearly two dozen Bengalese
mountaineers earned their amateur radio licenses in late May and will soon be
using portable radios to provide climber safety, emergency rescues and, if
need be, help with searches for missing and fallen climbers.

According to VU2JFA, of the West Bengal Radio Club, the climbers' license are
likely the first ever to be issued to any mountaineer. He said that in
addition to carrying HF radios with antennas in their backpacks, the guides
will also be outfitted with transmitters that send their position to base camp
for tracking purposes in case of an emergency.

The new IARU Region 1 HF Band Plan came into effect on 1 June 2016.

Changes were made to the band plan during discussions at the Region 1 Interim
Meeting held in Vienna in April. The recommendations from this meeting were
approved at the Region 1 EC meeting in Brussels in May and became interim Region 1
Policy until the General Conference in September 2017.

The two main items are the introduction of a Digimode segment at 3 570 kHz -
3 580 kHz with a maximum bandwidth of 200 Hz and a Digimode segment with maximum
bandwidth of 500 Hz extended from 10 130 kHz to 10 150 kHz.

The band plan is available from both IARU and SARL web site

Who and Where are our broadcast stations?



Remembrance or RD Contest August 13-14

36th ALARA Contest is on the last full weekend in August, Aug 27-28.

Kevin, K6TOP is on the air as VP2V/K6TOP from Tortola, IOTA reference NA-023,
in the British Virgin Islands. He will be active until 15th June.
Operation is on the 40, 20, 15 and 10m bands using mostly CW.

QSL via NR6M.

Stefan, DF8HS will be active from Fehmarn Island, EU-128, from 6th June
until the 4th of July. A good guy is Stefan, he QSL's via the Bureau.

John, K9EL will be active as FS/K9E from St Martin, NA-105, from 5th to
23rd June. He will be on the 80 to 6m bands using CW, SSB and RTTY. QSL
via his home callsign via the bureau.

Radio Amateurs of Canada has told us that it has secured permission for all
Canadian Radio Amateurs to use special call sign prefixes to celebrate the
150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation.

National, regional and local events will take place throughout 2017 to celebrate
the anniversary and Canadian Amateurs will let their counterparts around the world
know of their celebration by using the following special prefixes:


These special prefixes are optional and Amateurs can choose if and when to use
the special prefix vs their normal prefix at any time during 2017.

For more information on Canada150 visit

Prefix hunters should look for the special event station being operated by the
Radio Club des Ardennes until 21 June.

The callsign is OS 101 AB and commemorates the 101st Airborne Division action
during the Battle of the Bulge in World War 2.

QSLs can be sent via the Belgian QSL Bureau.



Tony 4 Radio Direction Finding Fun happening soon

If you are in the vicinity of the Townsville Region on Saturday July 2nd from
1pm and want to get involved in a Foxhunt then Tony VK4TJS wants to hear from you.

There will be activities for all family members to participate in during the
Foxhunt and things will end up with some inflight catering.

Foxhunt Base will be Area 2, Rossiter Park, Aitkenvale (where the TARC AGMs are

To cater for the event Tony needs to know your attendance numbers and you need to
quiz Tony further regarding details about the Foxhunt. Who do you have to call ?

Tony VK4TJS of course, on 07 476 77 137

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

The annual IARU ATV Contest is happening on Saturday/Sunday, June 11-12.

The International Contest includes all bands from 432 MHz up and additionally, the
BATC will run an ATV Contest on 71 MHz and 146 MHz at the same time, so the
contest will effectively be "all bands" in the UK.

To encourage Reduced Bandwidth (RB) TV activity there will be 2 prizes of
for the best DX RB-TV Contact during the contest.

The contest runs from 1pm BST on Saturday 11 June until 7 pm BST on Sunday,
June 12

Full details and links to the log sheets are on the BATC Forum:

Please post details of your planned activity on the forum.


Hallo everyone, this is Clive VK6CSW with a reminder that tomorrow, Monday June
6th, the Radio Amateurs Old Timers Club of Australia's monthly News and
Information bulletin goes to air.

This month as well as all the usual RAOTC news, we have 3 items for you - a look
at quick-charge batteries, Mr High Speed Morse, and some follow-up comments on
the operation of optical keyers. Everyone, RAOTC Members and non-members alike,
is most welcome to listen to the bulletin and to join in the call backs afterwards.

There are several ways to hear the program.

The principal HF transmission will be on 20 metres on 14.150 MHz upper side band
at 0100 UTC beamed north from Melbourne for the eastern states.

An hour later at 0200 UTC there will be a 40 metre transmission from Perth on
7088 kHz lower sideband plus a simultaneous transmission via all linked NewsWest
VHF and UHF repeaters.

Additionally, several local relays take place. To find the times and frequencies
for your area please visit the RAOTC website

If none of these transmissions suit your schedule, then as from Tuesday morning
you can download the audio file from the website, which, once again is

Once again, the June RAOTC bulletin is scheduled for tomorrow Monday 6th June.

73 from Clive VK6CSW.

Emergency Centre of Activity (CoA) frequencies
3.600, 7.110, 14.300, 18.160 and 21.360 MHz

Last Sunday Sunshine Coast Club assisted with the running of the 160 kilometre
and 100 kilometre bike rides which form part of the Noosa Ultimate Sports Festival.

Provided was a Communications hub to enable communications to over 20 check points
around the course. From SCARC here is VK4VP Gordon.

"This was operated as a WICEN exercise and the SCARC provided two experienced
operators set up in the Noosa Surf Club to co-ordinate messages between the
checkpoint operators and to race command.
This was done via the 2 metre Noosa and Gympie repeaters which provided excellent
coverage for the entire course with a lot of it accessible by a handheld radio.

SCARC also provided APRS tracking of the two lead motor vehicles and the two sag
wagons or sweep vehicles.
The position data from these vehicles was relayed on the existing APRS network and
ultimately to the APRS internet servers. Due to the hilly terrain a temporary
fill in digipeater was installed on the course where an APRS blackspot had earlier
been identified. Ride command could see exactly where the lead and the tail end of
both the 160km and the 100 km bikes were at any time via a dedicated laptop and
large monitor at the Race Command centre at the Noosa Surf Club.

This bike ride is a large event with a large number of bike riders participating
on public roads for about 8 hours.
The added safety of good communications was essential to the success of yet
another Noosa bike ride. The Sunshine Coast Amateur Radio Club is proud to be
associated with such an important local event."

This if Phil Wait VK2ASD, President of the WIA

AGM and Open Forum Wrap-up

As I'm sure everyone is very well aware, last weekend the WIA held its AGM and
Open forum on Norfolk Island.

The AGM is the formal part of proceedings where the Silent Keys are remembered,
the new elected Board members are formally announced, and the Directors and
Treasurers reports are discussed and voted on. Both reports were accepted by
the meeting, with two fairly minor items from the Treasurers report referred
back to the Treasurer for clarification.

Following the Open Forum the WIA Service Awards were announced.

Life membership was awarded to Ted Thrift VK2ARA, for his contribution to the
WIA and Amateur Radio in Australia in his work in Affiliated Club coordination
and managing the Affiliated Club Insurance Scheme since its inception.

The GA Taylor Medal, the WIA's highest award, was awarded to Dale Hughes
VK1DSH for representing the Amateur Service internationally for many years,
and for his leadership role in the official Australian delegation to WRC-15 in
Geneva, which led to a new Amateur allocation at 5.3 MHz.

The Chris Jones Award was given to Jenny Wardrop for her consistent support of
the WIA and ALARA over five decades, as well as her historical research work,
particularly on women in Amateur Radio.

The Ron Wilkinson award was given to David Scott VK2JDS for his activities in
1296 MHz moonbounce, helping to maintain a profile of Australian participation
in this leading-edge amateur pursuit.

Technical Excellence awards were awarded to Andy Nguyen VK3YT for his work
with Pico Balloons and, together, David Learmonth VK3QM and Lou Blasco VK3ALB
for the re-purposing of ex-commercial 3.5 GHz equipment which increased
activity on the 9cm amateur band.

This year we had two new WIA Service Awards:

The Michael J. Owen Distinction given for outstanding service to the WIA, and
the Foundation award for excellence demonstrated in the true spirit of the
Foundation licence.

The inaugural Michael J Owen Distinction was awarded to Peter Wolfenden VK3RV
for his exceptional voluntary service for the WIA over many decades, his role
as Coordinator of the Historical and Archive Committee, and articles to
Amateur Radio magazine on Australian amateurs' in WWI and WWII for the ANZAC

Inaugural Foundation awards were given to Onno Benschop VK6FLAB for his
enthusiastic work on helping newcomers to the hobby, and Damien Clissold
VK5FDEC for enthusiastic, consistent participation in QRP, portable and
Field Day activities in the best traditions of the Foundation licence.

Publications committee awards are given to those who have made a stand-out
contribution during the year to both the content and production of AR Magazine.
These include:

The Higginbotham Award to Evan Jarman VK3ANI for 37 years service to AR
Magazine, the Al Shawsmith Award to Peter Wolfenden VK3RV for his series of
articles commemorating the ANZAC Centenary, and the AR Magazine Technical
Award to Jim Tregallas VK5JST for his article "A VHF/UHF Aerial Analyser".

This year, Presidents Commendations were given to: Adrian Addison VK5FANA,
John Bates VK7RT, Lloyd Butler VK5BR, Mike Charteris VK4QS, Ron Cook VK3AFW,
Noel Higgins VK3NH, Peter Cossins VK3BFG, Peter Gibson VK3AZL, Tony Hambling
VK3XV, June Sim VK4SJ, and Roy Watkins VK6XV.

The meeting then moved into the Open Forum segment where any item of interest
to members concerning Amateur Radio and the WIA can be discussed. This year
the discussions centred around youth and amateur radio, the future format and
delivery of AR magazine, potential for website advertising, and how to grow
WIA membership including the possibility of giving 1 year free Associate
memberships to all new amateurs.

Finally, we watched a video promotion for the location of the next WIA AGM and
Open Forum weekend, and I'm pleased to say, next year is Adelaide.

This if Phil Wait VK2ASD, President of the WIA

Brief overview of the WIA Annual General Meeting with Robert VK3DN

The Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) held its annual general meeting and
associated events on Norfolk Island May 27, 28, & 29 while many also enjoyed
visiting the multitude of tourist attractions on offer.

The first main activity was an informal evening at the Norfolk RSL. It was
reformed as a Sub-Branch in 1945 after the end of WWII - a part of the local

WIA President, Phil Wait VK2ASD, gave a short welcome speech while there was
enthusiastic support for the traditional RSL raffle.

A few later ventured to the recently opened Jolly Roger night spot that has
become an attraction for locals and tourists alike featuring a guitarist
dressed as a pirate. complete with a parrot on his shoulder.

On Saturday 28, at 9am in the Paradise Hotel was the formal, statutory AGM,
followed after morning tea by the Open Forum with some informative interactive
exchanges between the audience and the WIA Board. Lunch was followed by a
two-stream speakers program over the afternoon.

During this time, the partners enjoyed a choice of two tours of the island.
All came together for the annual dinner at 7pm at the Paradise Hotel. Keynote
speaker for the dinner was the Honourable Gary Hardgrave, Administrator of
Norfolk Island, who spoke about the island's intriguing history and the
challenging time of change ahead.

Guest speaker at dinner was Doug McVeigh VK0DMV, who gave an illustrated talk
about his recent time at Casey Station in the Australian Antarctic, its
abundance of wildlife, the science carried out, and how many nations shared
their resources on the icy continent.

During the entire event a daily mini-broadcast of the latest information was
aired through the VK9RNI UHF repeater at 5.30pm, with many check-ins.
Qualifying contacts for the Norfolk Island Award including Foundation Licence
holders kept the repeater busy. Other QSOs were on 2m simplex and HF.

The commemorative VI9ANZAC callsign had around 400 contacts, some from these
from the station set up at the Paradise Hotel and others on a roster basis
out in the field, with one such operation was at Puppy's Point.

ALARA hosted a special afternoon tea for Kirsty Jenkins-Smith VK9NL, who was
pleased to meet the many who attended. Kirsty VK9NL was happy with the
Echolink contacts possible during the occasion.

On Sunday 29, a number of groups walked to Mt Bates, which included a SOTA
Activation. A planned visit to Jacki Jacki, the peak on nearby Philip Island,
was not possible as the trip had to be cancelled due to the windy weather.

During the weekend, a number visited the highly elevated Mt Bates on more
than one occasion.

Also on Sunday two microwave enthusiasts, Keith Gooley VK5OQ and Roger
Harrison VK9NJ (VK2ZRH), ventured out to check out the local propagation. His
story in a minute.

At dusk on Sunday evening, a traditional island Fish Fry was held at Puppy's
Point, a promontory overlooking the sea on the northwest side of the island.

Besides the food and music, a highlight was a performance by three
traditional Tahitian dancers, who later gave lessons with many from the WIA
joining in.

The WIA AGM weekend was highly successful. More details are to be found in
this edition with the President's Comment, and a fuller coverage and photos
in the August edition of Amateur Radio magazine.

This is WIA Director Roger Harrison VK2ZRH with some news from Norfolk Island.

At the Institute's annual general meeting and Open Forum weekend of activities
on Norfolk Island last weekend, the eighty, forty and twenty metre bands ran
red hot with DXers, SOTA enthusiasts and related activities. The two metre and
seventy centimetre bands lit up with visitor traffic, too.

Decades ago, local singer-songwriter Bob Hudson recorded The Newcastle Song,
which lit up the pop music charts for a period. The memorable chorus line goes
"Don't you ever let a chance go by". Which pretty much sums up the chief
amateur radio activities over the weekend.

Taking that philosophy to an extreme, the 3.4 GHz and 10 GHz bands got a
workout on Sunday afternoon with a little jaunt by two of us to high and low
points on Norfolk.

Keith Gooley VK5OQ and yours-truly did the deed. Keith worked at IPS Radio &
Space Services - now Space Weather Services - back in the 1970s, when I also
worked there.

Late last year, Keith and I exchanged emails about taking some 10 GHz rigs to
Norfolk for some microwave portable frolics. Keith has a 10 GHz 'transverter
in a box' that has an integral waveguide horn antenna. However, my 10 GHz rig
is built onto a 65 centimetre dish and not readily re-packageable. We set out
to hunt down a compact 10 GHz rig on-loan.

Then, I recently acquired a pair of 3.4 GHz transverters with integral patch
antenna - those famously obtained by the Geelong Amateur Radio Club. Heh-heh.

We conspired to loan each other the required rigs for the Norfolk Island
microwave jaunt.

On the Sunday afternoon, Keith, accompanied by AR magazine editor, Peter
Freeman VK3PF, drove up to the lookout on Mount Pitt, the second-highest peak
on Norfolk, while Ross Masterson VK2VVV and I drove down to Kingston and found
a spot next to Kingston Gaol, from where we could see Mount Pitt.

And so it was:

Keith VK5OQ portable nine worked yours-truly VK9NJ on 3.4 GHz, quickly
followed by VK3PF portable nine. Unbeknown to me, there was a small crowd
witnessing the event on Mount Pitt, and in rapid succession a bunch of VK2s,
VK3s, VK4s and VK5s called me for a contact. So the nine centimetre band
sounded like 40 metres there for a while !

Changing to the 10 GHz rigs, Keith, Peter and I repeated the exercise, also
followed by a contacts with a bunch of the onlookers at Mount Pitt.

Post-Norfolk, a calculation revealed the path distance to be just shy of 5 km.

Our claim for a microwave DX record for 10 GHz will shortly be submitted to
the WIA Technical Advisory Committee. The VK9NA VHF-UHF DXpedition of
January 2011 has the DX record for the 3.4 GHz band.

Keith Jagger sang "You can't always get what you want" !

Nevertheless, for a couple of microwavers, it was a very productive Norfolk
Island jaunt.

I'd like to thank David VK2JDS for 3.4 GHz engineering, along with Peter VK3PF
and Ross VK2VVV for assistance as Norfolk "road crew", and Gary VK5ZD for the
loaner 10 GHz rig.

This has been WIA Director Roger Harrison VK2ZRH for VK1WIA News.


June 11-13 VK5 VK Foxhunting Championship & SERG convention Mt Gambier(VK5HCF)

July 9-10 VK3 GippsTech 2016 Churchill (

Aug 7 VK6 NCRG HamFest 9am Cyril Jackson Community Hall Ashfield (vk6rk)

Sep 23-25 VK4 Central Highlands Amateur Radio Club AGM weekend
Lake Maraboon Holiday Village, near Emerald. (theTARCinc)
Sep-Oct 30-3 VK4 Cardwell Gathering Long Weekend, Beachcomber Motel(theTARCinc)

Nov 6 VK5 Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society HamFest 8am (VK5KC)
Nov 26 VK3 Rosebud RadioFest 9:30 am till 2pm (vk3pdg)
Nov 26 VK7 Miena HamFest Saturday 26th. (vk7wi txt)


March 26 VK3 EMDRC HamFest, Great Ryrie Primary School, Heathmont (VK3BQ)

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