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An overview of the WIA AGM events

Date : 04 / 06 / 2016
Author : Jim Linton - VK3PC

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 tourist attractions.

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 heritage. 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 live music venue 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 - Craft and Food, or Island History. 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.

The WIA Board was pleased to play a video and announce plans to have the next AGM in Adelaide.
Earlier the Norfolk Island repeater VK9RNI was in action and believed to be the first UHF amateur repeater on the island.

From Tuesday May 24 it had a news broadcast each evening at 5.30pm local time with a rebroadcast on 7.105 MHz at 6pm. This informative session was presented by Fred Swainston VK9DAC 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. A station was set up in the Norfolk Room at the Paradise hotel for use by any radio amateur on a roster basis during the week. It was used also for the commemorative VI9ANZAC callsign that had around 400 contacts. Some of those were logged at the station and others out in the field, with one such operation at Puppy’s Point. (pictured above) All VI9ANZAC contacts are eligible for a QSL card that will be provided via the bureau. Also e-QSL was to be arranged.

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. Among them were those monitoring 146.5MHz looking for simplex contacts for the WWFF program and SOTA activations. Also on Sunday two microwave enthusiasts, Keith Gooley VK5OQ and Roger Harrison VK9NJ (VK2ZRH), ventured out to check out the local propagation.

Keith VK5OQ/9 took a 3.4 GHz rig and a 10 GHz rig to the lookout atop Mount Pitt, while Roger VK9NJ took a pair of rigs for these bands out to the historic ruins of the old gaol at Kingston, ferried around by Ross Masterson VK2VVV. Unsurprisingly, 59 contacts were had on both bands and it seems a 10 GHz DX record was established over the 5 km path! On that day and later on the Monday there were tours of the local Norfolk Island Telecom dishes, the Radio Norfolk transmitter and studios.

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 close relationship between the WIA and the New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters (NZART), has them visit each other on alternative years. Neill Ellis ZL1TAJ, a NZART Councillor, attended as our guest.

The WIA AGM weekend was highly successful, and had excellent coverage in the Norfolk Islander weekly newspaper with a front page photo and inside story.


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