20171008 - VK6ARN NewsWest for Sunday 8 October 2017

posted Oct 6, 2017, 12:12 AM by News Team   [ updated Oct 6, 2017, 12:25 AM ]


In the News this week we hear about the history of Jamboree On The Air, the largest annual activity organised by the World Organisation of Scouting Movements that introduces half a million Scouts and Guides in over one hundred countries involving some ten thousand amateur radio stations to Amateur Radio every year, 60 years this year and going strong.

Also in the news we hear about Summits on the Air and World Wide Flora and Fauna activations, have news about how to engage the Maker Community with Amateur Radio, news from around the hobby and more.

Thanks for joining us for this edition of Amateur Radio News for Radio Amateurs and Shortwave Listeners, produced since 1931 across VK6 and beyond. I'm your host this week, Onno VK6FLAB.


NewsWest is produced and presented by WA Amateur Radio News and opinions expressed in this news may not reflect the opinion of the news team, the broadcaster or the WIA and are shared in the open spirit of Amateur Radio.

Foundations of Amateur Radio

The art of keeping your station organised and accessible has much to do with choosing wisely which bits to keep and which bits to throw. That's part of the story, but there are other aspects of organisation that will assist you.

Rolling up coax is a skill that you need to learn. The over and under method of coiling cable is by far the easiest way to ensure that your coax stays healthy and happy without kinks and other distortions.

Once you've coiled your coax, many amateurs use electrical tape to hold the coil in place for storage. This can be helpful, since it means that you'll always have a handy supply of electrical tape on hand for when the need arises, but an alternative is to use Velcro cable wraps which attach semi-permanently to one end of the coax and can be wrapped onto itself to make a loop around the coiled coax.

Making a water-proof connection, for temporary use can be as simple as covering it in electrical tape. This isn't ideal and not permanent and water inside coax is a guaranteed way to create problems that go well beyond the one time that it got wet, with rust and rot destroying the connector, then the conductors and then ultimately your radio. A better solution is to use either self-amalgamating tape, or plumbing tape to cover the join, followed by electrical tape and even cable ties to ensure that the tape stays in place.

There are self-amalgamating dispensers that allow you to coat a connector in a sticky goo that also keeps water out, but getting it off at a later stage is guaranteed to make your hands black and sticky.

If you're operating portable, then getting your wire into the air might be associated with throwing something into a tree to pull your antenna up. A fishing rod is a very helpful tool, complete with some fishing weights, to get the wire into a tree. Bring spare sinkers because you're going to lose some along the way.

Storing a cable or stay kit is often a laborious affair with the rope getting tied up in knots throughout your kit with the next 30 minutes spent untangling the almighty spider-web that magically appeared inside your go-kit. A great way to prevent such an adventure is to invest in different size zip-lock bags. You can label the bag appropriately and see inside what's there, so if you have a few of them, you only need to grab the one you need and use different sizes for different purposes. Too small means they pop open and too large means you can't find what you need.

Bring along some ratchet straps. They don't need to be 20m monsters, 2m is just fine, but bring a few. You'll be surprised how often they come in handy to tie down a radio, or a squid-pole, or strap a clipboard to something.

A clipboard is a useful surface to write on, to keep your logs and if you get a clipboard box, you can store your electronic log keeping device and some pens in the same place.

At one point I actually attached the head of my radio to my clipboard with some screws which made operating and logging even easier.

No doubt you've got some tips of your own, so feel free to drop me a line and share.

I'm Onno VK6FLAB

JOTA Genesis Les Mitchell


By Les Mitchell (G3BHK) Founder of Jamboree On The Air

The following is a transcript of a speech recorded at his home in England in 1968.

"I joined the Scout Movement in the 1930s and I joined mainly because I was interested in International friendship and because I thought then what a wonderful idea it was for lads of different Nations to be able to get together. However I soon found out, much to my horror, that unless you were one of the really top Scouts, you never were sent along to Jamborees. and very few Troops in pre-War days, ever camped abroad.

But when the War started, I was with a Troop in Reading, and it wasn't long before I was called up myself, and much to my supreme joy, was sent over to America for a year where I became a Scoutmaster with Troop 38 in Brunswick in Maine. So I started my International Jamboree at the Government's expense.

After a year in Maine they sent me out to Sydney in Australia, where I became Sea-Scoutmaster, spending another year this time with the 1st Leichhardt Sea Scouts.

On coming back home again, I found that the Navy had hammered enough radio into me to enable me to apply straight away for an amateur transmitting licence, so when the end of the War arrived, there I was as a Radio Amateur with a very good taste of International Scouting.

I tried many, many years after the War to get Scouts interested in Radio, and to get the Movement as a whole interested but without success until the 1957 Jamboree at Sutton Park, when one of the finest Amateur Radio Stations that I think I have ever seen was established in the Jamboree area.

Unfortunately, and I was very disappointed regarding this point, of the 60 odd operators who were there, there were only two of us in uniform, and the other chap wasn't there very often either, so it left the station there as practically the only organisation of the whole of the Jamboree site that wasn't run completely by people in Scout uniform and even at that time I felt that this must never happen again. So whilst the Jamboree was continuing, I called a meeting of overseas Scout Radio Amateurs (of which there was quite a number attending the Jamboree) and we used to meet every morning just outside the gates of the Jamboree site, at a little cafe where we enjoyed a cup of coffee.

Whilst at one of these meetings, the idea arose almost spontaneously - Why don't we have a day each year when the chaps around that particular cafe table should contact each other on the air? Immediately they said ‘Come along Les, YOU organise it!’

So when I got home after the Jamboree I realised that whilst the idea sounded very fine in the cafe it would be rather doomed to failure because there were so few of us there, and with chaps getting married and dropping out for examinations, plus the fact that radio conditions might not be particularly good on the particular day we might choose, and there might be so few radio contacts, that the whole idea would fold up in a year or two.

So I wrote again to these people and said - ‘Look, I've a better idea, why don't we ask all the Radio Amateurs throughout the World to help the Scout Movement and to run one glorious Jamboree on the Air every year for about 48 hours and just let's go to town on that one weekend evey where in the World. If then, we particular six or seven chaps at these meetings don't happen to contact each other, well, it wouldn't matter because we would all still have a jolly good time’.

They agreed to this idea so I put it to headquarters in London, but they looked at me as if I were suggesting Patrol camping on the Moon. I felt that their feelings were, ‘well, we'll let this chappie go ahead and after one event surely he'll realise he is wasting his time and ours and we'll never hear about it again‘.

Well, as you know it went fairly well the first time, and the next year I handed the International side of the event over to the World Scout Bureau to organise and as it turned out, I couldn't have done it at a better time, because a certain young chap there by the name of Len Jarrett, had just joined the staff, he was ex-Royal Corps of Signals, rarin' to learn more radio, and he really threw himself into the organisation of Jamboree on the Air with all the zest and vigour you could imagine! He later gained the call sign of VE3EWE (now HB9S) and as you know, the Jamboree on the Air has gone since then from strength to strength.

The point I would like to make is that the great attraction for this event for me has been the fact that other Scouts like myself, who were never really top class Scouts would get the chance of making International contacts and chatting, in fact, the boy who joined the Movement only last week can have a chance to chat to someone a long way away and get the thrill of chatting to an overseas Scout, at very little cost. I think you'll find that as Jamborees these days get larger and larger, they'll probably become fewer and fewer, and J0TA is one way of making international contacts at very little cost to the boy and the Movement, and with great enjoyment to the people who take part."

The rest, as they say, is history.


Les Mitchell - G3BHK (1923-2014)

Little did I think when I drew up the plans and rules for the first event in 1958 that it's popularity would increase and spread around the world. Even more astonishing is the fact that after all this time it still holds it's popularity and now has a participation of some half a million Scouts and Guides in over one hundred countries involving some ten thousand amateur radio stations. In fact it has become the largest international Scout event ever.

Have I been aware of any significant changes in the event since it started? Possibly the most noticeable change to me has been that in 1958 so few members of the Scout Movement were qualified radio amateurs that we had to call on the help of local amateur radio clubs to organise and run stations taking part in JOTA. Over the years Scouts taking part in the event have become so interested in the hobby that they have become radio amateurs themselves and a significant number of JOTA operators today are members of the Movement. This of course makes participation in the event far more interesting for those at both ends of a contact.

There are two other significant changes which have vastly improved the event. One is the change from Amplitude Modulation (AM) to Single Side Band (SSB). This has led to more efficient signals enabling one to make contacts further afield using only the often simple temporary aerial arrays erected during JOTA.

The second improvement is the miniaturisation of the equipment. In 1958 a single station consisted of several large sized and heavy pieces of equipment, mostly home-constructed, which would fill a car boot and took a long time to install. Today one can carry a complete station in a small suitcase and assemble a station within a few minutes. It is only the aerial which still needs the same amount of installation time as it did in the past!

Finally, JOTA is great fun but there is one simple point you must remember - even the most efficient communication system in the world is useless if you have nothing to say. If you put nothing into the event you may get nothing out of it! JOTA is your chance to speak to Scouts and Guides over the horizon ... Silence makes no friends!

Good Radio Scouting contacts!

Les Mitchell, G3BHK

October 2000

Les became Silent Key on 6th October 2014, a couple of weeks before JOTA.  His legacy, Jamboree On The Air, continues in 2016 in its 60th year, and is the largest annual activity organised by the World Organisation of Scouting Movements.

History of AR - Lighthouse

Please find a piece for the "historical" episode of NewsWest on the old Cape Leeuwin non-directional radio beacon. This follows some email discussion on the topic - and Onno suggesting I record it....I hope it is useful.

This isn't particularly dated, and could go to air any time in the next few weeks - or not at all, if it has to make way for other stuff!

One note: I conclude the piece with a request - on behalf of Cape Leeuwin's historical consultant - for anyone to come forward who might have previously worked at the lighthouse, as they are seeking information for new displays in their upgraded interpretive centre. I forgot to mention they also are specifically seeking photos that people might have of the time, if you have opportunity to add this comment in afterwards, that would be appreciated - however if not feasible, no big issue.

Next Week New Amateurs

NewsWest next weekend takes a look at New Amateurs.  We’ll congratulate those who have newly earned callsigns, or passed their assessments. We’ll present items to inform new hams and perhaps give you something to think about, and ideas of what you could get up to.

What was your experience as a new ham?  How about telling your story of your entry into the hobby? We’d love to hear from you.  If you’re unsure how to go about it, shout out on newswest at vk6.net


There’s still a week of school holiday left – hopefully the kids aren’t bored yet.

What that also means is there’s only 2 weeks until JOTA and JOTI, Jamboree of the Air, and Jamboree of the internet.

Remember, this is the 60th Year for JOTA, 60 Years of Connecting Scouts – and the dates are the 20th-22nd of October.

A note from Delshard, the WA JOTA/JOTI Co ordinator for 2017 has just gone out to all Regions, Districts and Groups in WA.

This provides links to:

A list bases – so groups can contact their closest base and register visits for over the weekend

Technical guidance – where groups will be connecting from their local hall if they can get to a JOTA/JOTI base

Radio Guidance – to assist JOTA bases

Policies on Social Media for the weekend – to allow Scouts WA to promote the event now and in the future

This content is available on the web at:

As a last minute urgent plea for help – if there’s anyone close to Albany who can accommodate a JOTA station, even if it’s just a for a few hours, the scouts down there would really appreciate it.

Please contact me directly – VictorKiloSixPapaAlphaWhiskey (at) gMAIL (dot) com

Please also refer to the updated post at VK6.net which contains clickable links and addresses.

I’m Glynn  VK6PAW





Don VK6DN has let us know that the Perth Radio Amateur Noodle House Eating and Discussion Society is getting together for a PRAWNHEADS Pizza Bonanza at his QTH, 17 Irvine St, Peppermint Grove at noon on Wednesday the 11th of October.

160m broadcast going to summer schedule

Phil VK6GX broadcasts the National News and NewsWest from  his Gidgegannup QTH on 1845 KHz early Sunday mornings. That’s the 160 metre band in case you were wondering.

Presently these are are 0700 and 0800 WST, however on 15th October, and until further notice, the broadcast will resume the summer schedule of 0600 and 0700. Western Standard time that is.

Phil puts out a good signal on 160m, and last week I was listening to him on my mobile rig on my way to Hamfest.  Have a go at listening to the news on 160 metres. You may be surprised.  

Thanks Phil and all of the broadcasting team for your weekly efforts putting the news to air.

Whichever way you want to hear the news, check out the options on the vk6 dot net website.  vk6.net

20m Broadcast

Graeme VK6LV has let us know that he's put his hand up to do the 20m relay of this broadcast from Popanyinning. He follows in the deep footsteps of Tony VK6CV and Nigel VK6NI, not to mention Wally VK6YS who pitched in for a while as well.

If you catch the broadcast on 20m, make sure you call back and tell Graeme how well his antenna's are working and give him some tips on how you'd improve the system. Perhaps he'll invite you to help.

Helpline - Oct 8th 2017


SORRY, I was M.I.A. last week

I am seeking anyone interested in conducting Scheduled Radio Operations (Scheds).

These scheds are on ‘Austravelsafetynet’  frequencies, a Not For Profit Radio Network, to contact “GREY NOMAD” travellers who are on SKI time (Spending Kids Inheritance).

The frequencies of operation range from 3176 to 17463 KHz and contacts to all points of Australia from 5 bases controlled & operated by VPN phone from the comfort of your shack. The only requirements is that you have a computer & internet or a mobile phone, preferably a “smart phone”.  YOU DO NOT REQUIRE A LICENCE so SWL are also eligible to operate.

If you have spare time in the morning, 08:00 -09:00, or afternoon 16:30-17:10 WST &/or EST, and you are interested, please give me a call on;

0427 000 995 or email vk6xv@bigpond.com


Codan 9323 & 9350 auto tuner. Auto Tuner refurbished to "G" spec, New Earth Braid, Coupling Kit, Earth Bracket, RF connector, Fully Repaired & Tested.

  • Brand new co-ax cable
  • Brand new data cable
  • Brand new mic cable
  • Brand new stainless steel whip 1200mm

The lot comes with 6 months warranty given by codan tech who did the work.

$ 1445 negotiable.   73 , 5833 , VK6 FMLS ( aka 5 miles )



I have two 7003 desktop units and three 19” 7012 remote panels.

Looking for $100 for a pair 7003 / 7102

Contact John at vk6jf@wia.org.au


I have an Icom IC718 HF transceiver, hand mic, power leads & manual, I would like to swap it for a Yeasu FT 817nd or sell $600

Many thanks and regards,

Roger Vk6fran  roger.nicholls@iinet.net.au


Helpline address for inclusion  vk6xv@bigpond.com

Please enter HELPLINE in the subject

In The News This Week

In the news this week we start with Martin VK6FEEE who is looking for some Tait T855 & T856 for a club repeater so any help would be great or even better if you have a any 2M Tait repeater modules - let him know.

John VK6JAH pointed us in the direction of Rural Supply stores as a source of ready made insulators for your next antenna project. He suggests that you might test an insulator for RF suitability by putting it in the microwave for 5 minutes - remember to turn on the microwave - if the insulator gets warm, it's no suitable. Stay away from coloured PVC, especially Grey. Nigel VK6NI suggests that if you're testing in the microwave, to add a jug of water, so that you don't let the smoke come out.

Bruce K6BP has let us know that the FreeDV.org website has moved to a new server, since the Internet provider that was being used were bought out and their service discontinued. If you need editing rights on the new site, follow the link on vk6.net to sign-up. [https://freedv.org/local-signup/]

Hamfest brought out the photographer in everyone, some of the photos ended up on-line, so visit the vk6.net website and follow the links if you want to see if you made it into digital history, or to sticky-beak who was there and what they were doing at the time. [https://1drv.ms/f/s!AtqPG0zIQKxvgZtrYQjbOoLY5qbWfQ]

The Hills Amateur Radio Group will be running a JOTA station at the clubhouse which they share with the Lesmurdie Guides on the 21st of October. If you're interested in helping, get in touch with the President Ray VK6ZRW.

The WA7BNM Contest Calendar has permanently moved to a new address. Please update any links to the new address. You'll find the details on the vk6.net website [http://www.contestcalendar.com/]

Matthew VK6ML lets us know that the Brigadoon DMR Fusion Repeater is back on air using a temporary internet connection.

And we received word from John VE6EY from Calgary, Alberta that he has been busilly writing a series of articles called the "Arduino Ham Radio Starter Kit" which is intended to encourage more hams and their clubs to engage with the local maker community as a gateway to Amateur Radio. You can find the link to his website on vk6.net. [http://play.fallows.ca/wp/series/arduino-ham-radio-starter-kit/]

If you had news that you wanted to share, you can always send it to newswest@vk6.net.

SOTA and WWFF News

In SOTA and World Wide Flora and Fauna news this week, Paul VK5PAS has been handing out VKFF awards again. CONGRATULATIONS go to:

  • Cliff VK2NP
  • Philip VK2JDL
  • Peter VK3ZPF
  • Marija VK5FMAZ
  • Mark VK4SMA
  • Rick VK4RF
  • Gerard VK2IO
  • Gerard VK2JNG
  • Ian VK1DI
  • Jonathan VK7JON
  • Danny ON7NQ

Over the past week there have been countless activations of SOTA Summits and VKFF parks. We heard from Alen VK3ARH who managed to activate VK3/VC017 on 2m because his KX3 ran out of battery before he started, spare antennas, yes, spare batteries, not this time.

Paul VK5PAS headed out to activate Nurragi Conservation Reserve VKFF-2247 and made 65 contacts including 7 Park to Park contacts. Paul and Marija VK5FMAZ also headed out to Sandy Creek Conservation Park 5CP-204 & VKFF-0933 where they managed 81 contacts including 12 Park to Park contacts. As icing on the cake, Paul also went out to Porter Scrub Conservation Park 5CP-189 & VKFF-0787. You can read all about it on his blog. You'll find the link on vk6.net. [https://vk5pas.org/]

Norm VK3XCI headed out to the Warrambungles VKFF-0520.

Davic VK2NU headed off to Cabbage Tree Mountain within the Ghin-Doo-Ee National Park where he activated two summits, VK2/MN-046 and VK2/MN-047 You can read up on the details online. Check vk6.net for the link. [https://vk2nusota.blogspot.com.au/p/vk2mn-047.html]

Nick VK3ANL went to VKFF-2104 Greswell Hill NCR to test a couple of 80m antenna configurations.

If you have a SOTA or Parks activation that you'd like to share, send an email to newswest@vk6.net and we'll put it on your news.


That's it for the news this week. If you listen closely you can hear the CQ Contest CQ Contest VK6ARN in the background. We'll be back with a brand new edition of the news in seven days from now covering the latest for New Amateurs, but in the mean time, for the next couple of hours you should get on air and make some noise, specifically for the purposes of making points for the first week of the Oceania DX Contest.

This week it's SSB until 08:00 UTC on Sunday and next week it's CW.

Thank you to Anthony, Glynn, Bob and Roy for the news this week. I'm Onno VK6FLAB.

Enjoy your day, now get on air and make some noise!

Producer: Onno VK6FLAB