Javascript Menu by

WIA Awards General Information

WIA Special Event & Commemorative Awards

WIA Merit Awards

WIA Publications Committtee Awards

Michael J. Owen Distinction Medal

About the Medal

The Michael J. Owen Distinction Medal is presented in recognition of services to the amateur radio community and the WIA. This is the second highest WIA merit award.


Michael was influential in shaping the hobby of Amateur Radio and then progressing through the ranks of administration both in Australia and overseas.

He was responsible for significant reform of the WIA, was well known across the ACMA and had worked closely with many staff on a range of issues.
His legal drafting skills were second to none, and his ability to clearly articulate his position on a number of issues was of immeasurable value to the hobby.
The IARU is indebted to his work at the World Radio Conferences and many regional Asia Pacific Telecommunity meetings. In WRC2003 he was responsible for Article 25, that included the abolition of mandatory Morse code, a freeing up of amateur radio involvement in emergency communications and third party traffic.
He was also very passionate about the WIA and the Centenary Celebrations held in Canberra.


The following is a chronology of the contribution Michael Owen VK3KI (SK) made to the hobby of amateur radio internationally and within Australia.

First licensed in 1957 as VK3ZEO, Michael was a foundation member of The Radio club at Melbourne University. Michael was studying law at Melbourne University.
Michael took an interest in the early days of space exploration and took an interest in Project Australis that was designated AO-5.

In 1961 he joined the WIA Victoria Division Council, a position he held for many years.
Michael with his legal background was always interested in the Wireless Telegraphy Act which later in 1983 became the Radiocommunications Act. During the drafting of this act Michael had many meaningful discussions with officers from the Department.
He went on to help form the IARU Region 3 Association.
His achievements through the IARU are legendary particularly as a director of region 3.

Michael was a member of the group who provided the secretariat for the Region 3 Association when it formed in 1968.

He was Federal WIA President from 1969 to 1972 and a WIA Honorary Life Member.

Michael became an IARU Region 3 Director.

He spent 12 weeks in Geneva, as a member of the Australian delegation to ITU WARC 79 one of the most important ITU conferences in the history of amateur radio.
Among the assignments that Michael drew at WARC-79 was to draft a resolution to exempt the Amateur-Satellite Service from coordination procedures that otherwise have resulted in endless paperwork and great expense.
Michael also received from the Board of the RSGB the prestigious Calcutta Key award, for "Outstanding service to International Friendship through amateur radio".

Michael was a recipient of the Ron Wilkinson Achievement Award with David Wardlaw VK3ADW for their work at the ITU World Administrative Radio Conference 1979.

IARU Vice President for 10 years from 1989-1999.

Retired as a partner in Corrs Chambers Westgarth and its predecessor firms, then a director and General Counsel Quiksilver International for a number of years.

Michael was a member of the IARU Observer Team at a number of World Radiocommunications Conferences, in particular WRC03, where he was responsible for Article 25, that included the abolition of mandatory Morse code, a freeing up of amateur radio involvement in emergency communications and third party traffic.

He was President from 2004-2012 following the restructure of the WIA. Many of today's radio amateurs see him as taking the WIA, in partnership with the late Chris Jones, from its federal structure to a national organisation. In May 2004 the WIA adopted a new Constitution, a lot of work indeed, changing the structure to one of direct membership, governed by a board of directors.
Australia Communications Authority released its findings on a major review of Amateur Radio in Australia. There was to end the Morse code licence requirement, reduction of five licence grades to two, and the introduction of the beginners or Foundation Licence.

Michael became the Chairman IARU Region 3 at Bangalore in 2005.

Michael worked with many people to transition the WIA Exam Service to a Registered Training Organisation for assessor training and accreditation under a Deed of Agreement with ACMA.

Michael Owen VK3KI died at his home on the afternoon of Saturday the 22nd of September 2012. A Funeral was held on Friday the 28th of September 2012, at St Andrews Anglican Church, Brighton, Victoria.
The Administrative Council (AC) of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) held its annual meeting on 2 & 4 November 2012 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Due to the passing of Michael, who had been a member of the Administrative Council for most of its existence and had been a longtime contributor to the efforts of IARU to promote and preserve amateur radio, the AC decided to establish an award in recognition of this.
The Michael J. Owen VK3KI Award was established to recognise an individual or individuals that best exemplify the dedication and hard work of IARU volunteers.

The Administrative Council of the International Amateur Radio Union at its meeting in Cancun Mexico on Sunday 22 September 2013 jointly award the first Michael J. Owen VK3KI Award to Dr David Wardlaw VK3ADW and Wojciech Nietyksza SP5FM.

WIA Board establishes the M J Owen Distinction Award and awards the first to Peter Wolfenden VK3RV.

Michael J. Owen Distinction Medal is struck. The medal used the image of Michael making the last WIA centenary contact with the then ARRL President Kay Craigie in 2010

Award Recipients

2016 - Peter Wolfenden VK3RV
2022 - Hayden Honeywood VK7HH
2023 - Noel Higgins VK3NH
2024 - Alan Shannon VK4SN

Page Last Updated: Monday, 20 May 2024 at 17:06 hours by Peter Clee


© 2024 Wireless Institute of Australia all rights reserved.
The National Association for Amateur Radio in Australia
A member society of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU)