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2010 News Releases




Super Springtime in Perth

Date : 06 / 09 / 2010
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World attention is being focused on Perth as seven local groups celebrate the centenary of organised amateur radio in Australia that began with what is now the world's oldest continuing national radio society. Organiser of an activity known as "Super Springtime", Heath Walder said, the celebration will include the demonstration of working amateur radio stations and displays at the Perth Royal Show and the historical site of Wireless Hill. The WA Repeater Group (WARG), WA VHF Group (WAVHFG), Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network (WICEN), Hills Amateur Radio Group (HARG), Peel Amateur Radio Group (PARG) , Scout Communications and Technology Team, and Ham College.

Mr Walder said, "So important is the centenary of our national society, the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA), that virtually all radio clubs and groups in the Perth area are eager to be involved in what has been dubbed the 'Super Springtime." The displays and operating amateur radio station with its unique callsign VK100WIA talking to the world, provide an excellent opportunity for the community to learn about amateur radio and how they can be involved.

"While it is a very interesting and personally rewarding recreational pursuit, radio amateurs or 'hams' have provided emergency communications on many occasions in time of disasters." He said the displays will show early radio pioneering, evolution of radio technology, antenna designs and construction, sending pictures over the radio,
personal global position system tracking via radios, amateur radio satellite and much more. There will also be active displays to involve members of the public so they can experience the wondrous world of radio and electronics.

This will be held over 'Show Week' 25 September to 2 October at the Perth Royal Show co-located with the Scout stand, as well as the Wireless Hill historical site. The displays at both locations will inform the public about the many facets of amateur radio and providing advice to anyone interesting in learning more or becoming a radio amateur. Mr Walder said, "While the hobby is for all ages and abilities, there is no better recreational and self-learning activity than amateur radio for anyone wishing to get into a technical of scientific career."

The national radio society, the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) was founded in Sydney in 1910 making it the world?s oldest continuing organisation of its kind. WIA President, Michael Owen said, "The historical milestone we are now celebrating starts at a time of early wireless experimentation, when it was a new science being explored by ordinary people who are today called radio amateurs. Just think about it, there were amateur experimenters building equipment to send and receive wireless messages in the late 19th century, more than two decades before radio broadcasting began in Australia."

Mr Owen said the start of organised amateur radio in Australia was a response to the somewhat harsh and unfair treatment of experimenters by authorities. "They were being asked to pay three guineas ($6.30) for the use of the airwaves. To fight that impost and gain better recognition of experimenters, the Institute of Wireless Telegraphy of Australia (now WIA) was established at a meeting in Sydney on 11 March 1910,?" he said.

"Wireless was also being explored at the time by Marconi and others as a means of communicating across oceans and with ships. The wireless operator on the SS Titanic put out the distress SOS call in 1912 and in doing so saved many lives." Mr Owen said during World War I those who had gained experience as amateur wireless experimenters used, and further developed the technology. The same thing occurred to a much greater level throughout WWII. He said "Many of the developments in radio communications have been pioneered by radio amateurs." The activity of amateur radio is enjoyed by individuals in more than 100 countries and has undergone a revival in Australia over the past five years through the introduction of a new entry level Foundation Licence. Recognised by the United Nations agency the International Telecommunications Union, it is a recreation, a means of self-education and radio amateurs can provide emergency communications.

Mr Owen said, "In Australia the first known time radio amateurs provided emergency communications was at a severe tropical cyclone which struck north of Cairns Queensland on 9 February 1927. There have been numerous occasions in Australia since then, including the Black Friday bushfire disaster January 1939, after Tropical Cyclone Tracy in 1974, the Newcastle Earthquake 1989, after floods, and the Black Saturday disaster of 2009." Many WIA affiliated clubs and their members are engaged in various aspects of the multi-faceted recreation. He said part of the centenary celebration the club members are 'talking to the world' using a commemorative radio callsign VK100WIA.

More detail on that activity and other centenary activities are available on the WIA website


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