Broadcasting the WIA National News
Are you a repeater operator or IRLP node operator hoping to share the WIA National News to fellow operators in your area? The WIA is always on the lookout for new rebroadcast sites.
Most repeater sites rebroadcast the news automatically by dual-purposing their IRLP node hardware to download, schedule and play the broadcast each week. Some even support "callback" in an automated way, where after the news listeners are asked to transmit and provide their callsign. Those are bundled up into an email and sent through to the maintainer of therepeater (or the news rebroadcast kit) for submission to the WIA.
Callbacks are an important part of the news service as it helps the WIA understand the audience size and how many listeners they are engaging from week to week - another first for amateur radio, being able to measure audience sizes without surveying!
How to deliver the broadcast
You can deliver the broadcast in many ways, some of these options for deployment include:
IRLP node directly integrated to Repeater Hardware, which downloads the news to the node and plays it out on a scheduled basis.
Transmission remotely by a radio connected to a computer on a scheduled basis, such as a remote IRLP node running with radio from a more convenient location than some repeater sites that lack internet connectivity.
Transmission remotely by a radio connected to a computer but triggered by an operator each week manually.
Broadcasters Mail List
A specialist mailing list for WIA National News Broadcasters is available to join using the following Link
This group provides maintainers with:
Links to the latest editions of the WIA National News as they are released by the WIA National News Broadcast Team
Other links to audio files as they are released, such as the Jamboree of the Air (JOTA) opening address
General support and assistance - a community of practice to support broadcasters.
Automation and scripting
In terms of software, there are various scripts (known as Bash Scripts) available from a few different contributors to help. These can run on IRLP Nodes, including Raspberry Pi based nodes to play the news in an automated way and email the maintainer the callbacks! There is a github repository of the scripts and audio files that are suitable that you can access using the following Link
These scripts have been developed by many amateur radio operators over time for the past several years and are a great starting point. You do need Linux experience with IRLP experience to deploy these. At this time, we don't necessarily have the capacity to support individual deployments. There is some information available on the github page providing more detail on the deployment.
Steps to putting the WIA broadcast to air on your local repeater
The following steps are important to undertake before you commence broadcasting, so please read them carefully:
1. Speak to your local repeater operator, don't simply just start transmitting the news at any chosen day. There are some very importantreasons for this:
Work collaboratively with the repeater maintainer and operator to deliver a quality service to the listeners
Radios and Repeaters have transmit timeouts, the news typically needs constant transmit for up to 30 minutes or more. Some equipment may not be designed for this and can be damaged, so ensure the repeater maintainer is aware so you can work
Some scripts have specialist commands added to send commands to equipment to turn on auxiliary fans to cool equipment while the news is being broadcast to protect it from damage.
2. Join the WIA National News Broadcasters Email List by clicking this Link
3. Test your configuration on your IRLP Node or Repeater site, making sure you can successfully download the content, ensure you don't createPTT lockups and other issues.
4. Record an advertising cart with the message "Across Australia from VK1WIA you're tuned to the WIA National News Service. In...... (your area), it can be heard on ..........(repeater call, irlp node and/or frequency) at..................(time of broadcast) I'm........... (Your name and call sign)" and submit it via this Link. This will be included from time to time in the broadcast to advertise your node.
5. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to inform the team of your node coming on line. Submit the link from the upload of the advertising cart in step 4.
6. Arrange a team of a few operators to monitor the broadcast to make sure it is operating as expected and report issues back to you.
7. Submit callbacks to the WIA Callback Teams after each week - email@example.com after each broadcast to help with the statistics of the broadcast.
Page Last Updated: Sunday 17 November 2019 at 21:25 hours