20171231 - NewsWest for Sunday 31 December 2017

Post date: Dec 30, 2017 5:36:04 AM


In the news this week we look back at 2017, follow the stories that coloured our world, look at events that happened, things that changed and things that didn't.

The Wireless Institute of Australia saw great upheaval, the ACMA was questioned in Federal Parliament and complaints were made against WA Amateur Radio News.

We also saw the biggest JOTA activation on the 60th anniversary of this world-wide scouting event where radio amateurs and scouts come together to communicate across the planet.

NewsWest produced and presented by the team at WA Amateur Radio News grew in leaps and bounds with massive increases in audience callback numbers, more stories, more information and more breaking news that matters to people like yourself in VK6 and far beyond, on-air, on-line and on-demand.

As a group of volunteers we spend roughly 15 hours a week producing this news building on the legacy of a news broadcast that has been going since 1931.

As your producer this week, thanks for taking time out of your day to tune in. Please let us know what you think, good or bad, fill in a feedback form on the vk6.net website or drop us an email to newswest@vk6.net.

January 2017 Looking Back

We'll start this bulletin with 2017, the year that was.

We started 2017 in January with the news that the widely used Amateur Radio Software HRD was locking out users who had posted bad reviews. Keith VK6RK stepped down as editor of the VK6 Notes section of Amateur Radio Magazine and the VK3RGL repeater in Geelong went active.

We promoted the Southern Electronics Group Katanning Ham Feast, the Peel Amateur Radio Group Swap Meet and shared the story of a lucky amateur who managed to find himself on a capsized boat.

The Wireless Institute of Australia declined to host a General Meeting on the say-so of a non-elected person, an issue that caused great consternation and anguish at the time.

During January 2017 we announced that Graham VK6ZGG and Mel VK6ER became silent keys.

February 2017 Looking Back

February was a busy month with DMR kicking off on a trial basis in Mandurah.

We discussed accounting "issues" at the WIA.

Radio Australia went off the air on 15.415 MHz, sparking commiserations around the community, and a post-shutdown furor in Parliament.

On Friday the 11th the Wireless Hill Museum opened for the first time since undergoing refurbishment. It played host to a cohort of Morsecodians who assisted with the creation of a wonderful exhibition called "The Wire: A History of Morse Code"

The under 40's VK6 homebrewers/QRP group met up at ham college this on the 19th sharing knowledge and showing their display of miniature transmitters.

The Federal Regulator, the ACMA, reversed a decision that had planned to make made thousands of CB radios illegal from June. Instead a consultation paper was published requesting comments about the impact of continued use of 40 channel CB equipment beyond 30 June.

Steve VK6SJ volunteered to take up compilation of VK6 notes for AR Magazine, following the retirement of Keith VK6KB from the role. Thanks to both Steve and Keith for their contributions.

On the 26th, Rotary Foundation kicked off 3 months of their special event callsign to celebrate their centenary - VI100TRF

March 2017 Looking Back

March began with an Election Special edition of NewsWest. The candidates for election as Directors of the Wireless Institute of Australia were invited to put in a plug for themselves. Four of the seven candidates took advantage of the opportunity. There was confusion over the proxy forms, and a decent amount of programme time was given to explaining how to properly use the proxies.

The news in March was themed with Lemmings. Why? Because that's what the WIA President called those who were questioning the happenings within the WIA. He called them Lemmings. Nevertheless NewsWest got on with reporting Western Australian amateur radio news, in spite of their lemmingness..

Australian Amateurs were looking forward to and participated in the John Moyle Field Day in March

We were looking forward to HargFest in April. Roy spent time in hospital. That was the March, that was.

April 2017 Looking Back

April saw the news of the Federal Parliament Senate Estimates Committee who put a series of questions to the ACMA relating to the Wireless Institute of Australia, amateur radio licensing and other issues, many of which still appear unanswered, even though a Freedom Of Information request raised with the ACMA since then has only added more questions, rather than answer outstanding ones.

We also saw the launch of the VK6 Microwave Group, HARGfest, the commencement of WWFF and SOTA news on our bulletin and the Motor Neuron Disease Walk in memory of active amateur and NewsWest broadcaster, Wally VK6YS.

On the 23rd of April we broadcast an ANZAC special including the Last Post to remember those who came before us and to honour their memory with the use of the AX prefix on our callsigns.

May 2017 Looking Back

May was full of surprises:

Graham VK6RO reported the solar flux index hit 69, on a scale of 66 to 350, as the big propagation recession continued — but no reason not to get ON AIR and give it a go.

Later in the month, the Radio Society of Great Britain have produced their 2017 Review of Contesting — discussing the diversity of operators and the different options the motivate us to take part in contesting — not to mention all the other aspects to our hobby.

On Saturday the 20th the WIA AGM was held in Hahndorf, South Australia. A controversial meeting where many of the motions ended up sitting.... legally motionless, even with 100 signatures.

Once the new board sat for the first time and the dust settled, it turned into an awesome weekend of tours, and a VK5 showcase day in the Adelaide Hills, as enthusiastic experimenters put their gear on show with the theme "Radio is Magic". This included a launch and tracking of another Horus balloon amidst a raft of other activities. The feedback on this aspect of the weekend was great and sets the benchmark for future AGM weekends to follow.

WIA - "Advocacy. Education. Support. That's what they do".

Finally, on the 27th — Reg VK6BQQ went to air in the Lancaster Bomber at Bull Creek with the 800th Friday Night (Ontario Time) TechNet. Congratulations.

June 2017 Looking Back

There didn't appear to be a lot happening in local Amateur Radio in June, however there was the International Museums Weekend and the VK Shires events. We were looking forward to the trans Tasman Low Bands challenge in July and the RD contest in August.

July 2017 Looking Back

July was the month we welcomed our audience in Wagga Wagga, promoted the Remembrance Day Contest, encouraged new amateurs, announced new callsigns and promoted the Trans Tasman Low Bands Challenge.

We also produced our most popular broadcast of the year during which we announced that the ACMA had ruled on how Club Stations were intended to legally operate. We then discovered that the Special Conditions attached to many of the club-stations around the country were missing, including our own.

This upset a whole new host of people who decided that the lack of Special Conditions on a club license meant that their license was not a club station, even though the ACMA had clearly dropped the ball with the transition to their new database platform. We still don't have an answer who changed our license conditions, nor has there ever been an explanation on how these conditions were lost and what steps have been taken to prevent such a thing from ever happening again.

Speaking of upsetting people, the WIA/ACMA investigation into a complaint about the illegal operation of VK6ARN, our club-station, during the John Moyle Contest earlier in the year, breached privacy on several levels by leaking the complaint to people outside the WIA Board and the ACMA. We pointed out that neither the WIA or the ACMA ever bothered to actually contact either of the operators at any time or follow due process, a deeply troubling, but recurring theme that we've personally witnessed many times over the past years.

We also used July to offer a platform for any listener to make their views known in the spirit of amateur radio. An offer that has yet to be taken up by any amateur, even though their social media attacks continued for months.

August 2017 Looking Back

In August we paid tribute to George Moss — VK6GM.

The new board of the WIA put out their first open call for committee volunteers in the general membership.

It was a big month for contests, with:

The Peel Amateur Radio Group celebrating their 35th anniversary on the 5th, with a special Birthday Bash club contest, in preparation for:

The weekend of the 12th — when many of us got ON AIR from our home, club and portable stations for the Remembrance Day Contest — with the NCRG breaking contest records.

On the 19th and 20th VK6 amateurs headed North, South and West to participate in the International Lighthouse and Lightship weekend. The bands weren't great — but we gave it a go.

On the same day it was SCIENCE AND COMMUNICATION DAY at Wireless Hill with morsecodeans, world war signal lamps, old dial telephones... even typewriters for hands-on display.

The 37th A.L.A.R.A. CONTEST was held the weekend of the 26th and 27th,

With the objective to encourage YLs in the use of amateur radio — again — many of us OMs took the opportunity to encourage others and get involved — including yours truly.

September 2017 Looking Back

So what did we get up to in September? We got very busy promoting Hamfest, and setting up online ticket sales. For the first time in many years, recognition awards for contributions to Amateur Radio in Western Australia were set up and advertised.

Hamfeast was on again, at a new venue, because the Quininup Tavern burned down We were assured that there was no RF involved in its demise.

Some of us learned to talk like a pirate for the Manly Warringah flagpole challenge. It's really aimed at the Sydney area - perhaps we should attach a VK6 version to it.

The RAOTC ran a QSO party - let's hope it can be repeated.

During September the countdown to JOTA was winding up. Or was that the wind-up was counting down? Whichever. With JOTA only a month away, preparations were in full swing.

September 2017 was the month we introduced the theme "get on air and make some noise"

And most importantly, in September 2017, I became a septuagenarian. I'm sure it was important to someone..

October 2017 Looking Back

October was the month we dedicated an entire broadcast to the history of Jamboree on the Air. We dedicated much airtime during the month on the promotion of JOTA and JOTI and managed to encourage many new amateurs to participate in this exciting annual event.

During the month we promoted the CQWW contests, the VKFF activity day, the RD Contest, the International Lighthouse and Lightship weekend, much of the World Wide Flora and Fauna activity and managed some Summits on the Air news as well.

November 2017 Looking Back

The November edition of AR magazine featured Carsten VK6PCB's story and photo of the tawny frog mouthed ACMA inspector that took perch on his J-Pole — lucky he was running QRP at the time.

As the great propagation recession continued, the solar flux index hit 66, the lowest it can be, with scientists not predicting it to go this low until 2019-2020. However, this didn't stop brief enhancements in F2 propagation with beacons from Europe coming in loud and clear on 28 MHz. Again, this year has been full of surprises.

It seems the last weekend in November had amateurs being pulled in all directions. On the weekend of the 25th and 26th, we had:

    • The CQ World Wide CW contest.

    • It was also an opportunity to "head for the hills" for the Spring UHF-VHF Contest, and if that wasn't enough,

    • The call went out for us to get ON AIR for the VKFF Activation Weekend, a great excuse to operate portable, within national parks and nature reserves. With plenty of activators and chasers, lots of certificates we issued

Last of all we said goodbye to Myles, VK6ZRY — heavily involved in WARG and sadly missed by the amateur radio community. 7.3.

December 2017 Looking Back

December is the time when we review the year, and is also when we ought to be thinking about what to do in the following year. It's a time whe clubs go into a recess or at least a modified programme of activities.

Don't get too comfortable with December, because today it's over, and 2018 commences with the summer UHF/VHF challenges. There's no rest is there?

December 31st is when we should be resolving to achieve some worthwhile things in the new year. The simple resolution is to get on air and make some noise.

I've decided to increase my portable activity, and to kick it off, I'm driving across Australia, and will work as many VKFF locations as time and my XYL permit.

Happy new radio year everyone. I look forward to meeting new people, and catching up with not so new people. Have you heard the song "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold."? It's a good rule to live by.

I'm Bob, V6POP

Broadcaster Thanks

Every Week NewsWest and the WIA National News are broadcast across Western Australia, Queensland, the Northern Territory, the New South Wales Riverina, and from Geelong south of Melbourne in Victoria.

Your callbacks are collated and reports sent to the WIA. Some of these broadcasters have been doing this for many years.

As 2017 comes to an end, we'd like to thank the following operators for your ongoing commitment to Amateur Radio and participation in getting our news to air.

    • Mark, VK6USB

    • Chris, VK6JI

    • Phil, VK6GX

    • Eddie, VK6YA

    • Tony, VK6CV

    • Nigel, VK6NI

    • Will, VK6UU

    • Peter, VK6AH

    • Trevor, VK6YJ

    • Mac, VK6MM

    • Lance, VK6LR

    • Neil, VK6BDO

    • Steve, VK6XA

    • Stefano VK6NAS

    • Ham College, VK6RIB

    • Alan, VK2WAG

    • Lou, VK3ALB

    • David, VK4DAK

    • Tony, VK7AX

    • Mike, VK8MA

    • Neil, VK8NH

We also need to thank the hard-working band of volunteers that keep the linked repeater network up and operating. Make sure you support your club that supports them.

Make sure you stick around for the callbacks at the end of this broadcast.

You're listening to VK6WIA.

Katanning Hamfeast 2018

Rob VK6LD advises that the annual Katanning Hamfeast is on Thursday 25 January 2018.

Hamfeast is a lunchtime event, and it starts at 12.00 noon. The venue is Oscar's Cafe at the Royal Exchange Hotel in Katanning, which is in Austral Terrace opposite the railway station.

As always, the meals & desserts are very good. Food and drinks are also very reasonably priced.

Menu: http://www.royalexchangewa.com.au/meals.html

This will be the 9th anniversary of the event and as always, YL's, YM's, XYL's, XYM's, wives, husbands and partners are also very welcome to attend.

Rob says that carpooling is encouraged and he imagines there will be travellers from Albany, Manjimup and Perth areas heading to Katanning.

Please RSVP via email by Thursday 18 January 2018 so Rob can make a booking with the cafe. Meals can be ordered on the day. If you already have a name badge from a previous Ham Feast, please bring it with you and if you require a name badge, please let me know and I'm sure Geoff VK6YR will make some up for the event. Rob's email address is vk6ld@outlook.com.au

Hamfeast is an opportunity for Hams from around the South West, Perth, anywhere really, to get together and exchange tall tales and true.

SSTV Group report for 2017

Did you know that the Slow Scan Television Net was on Air every day of the week during the year? In the 365 days this year we have transmitted over 8040 photos.

These images from various hams included their back yards, Plants, Flowers, Pets, Cars, Antennas and Radio gear, hobbies and models. It include snaps taken on local trips both within Australia and Overseas, as well various other pictures taken by friends and relatives on every subject you can take pictures of, and even some generated by computers.

The group is on Air every day on the 80 meter band at 3.630 Mhz starting at 4:00pm local time or 8 UTC and sends pictures using the Easypal Program in Hybrid mode. It is hoped when the 40 meter band returns to normal we will be able to shift back to there on 7.214 Mhz

An alternate slow scan net takes place on most Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8:00pm or 12 UTC on the 80 meter band and occasionally on the 160 meter band, these sessions send in either Analogue SSTV or in non-hybrid mode Digital SSTV.

If you would like to join this net to view these images all you need to do is connect your Computer to your Radio with a simple interface, which many of you will already have if you have dabbled in PSK, Thor, RTTY, JT65 or WSPR.

www.wasstv.net. into your browser. You can also view the images sent during the week by clicking on the link to the Image gallery.

You will find all of the information you need to help you set up for Digital or Analogue Slow Scan Television. Also on the web site are some simple circuits to construct (home brew) that allow you to interface your PC to your radio rather than purchasing a commercial unit.

This year saw over 21 different hams call into the Slow Scan Television Net. Some were from the other states within Australia. We also have several regular short wave listeners who send back signal reports and comments to the net via both Email and Skype.

The SSTV group also extends our thanks to Jeff VK6VIK for running and maintaining the WA Slow Scan web site as well as the FTP site for use with Hybrid Digital SSTV.

If you would like to experience SSTV just tune in to the SSTV net on the 80 meter band and join the world of Slow Scan Television.

Cheers from Peter VK6QK (SSTV Net Coordinator) and the WA Slow Scan Television Group.

NewsWest by the numbers

Looking back over 2017 it was a year with many firsts. We managed to grow our listening audience substantially, that's you, covering more countries, more transmitters and more news.

2017 saw the WA Amateur Radio News produce 87301 seconds of content, just over 24 hours of news content, stored as 660 Mb of mp3 audio, which was downloaded 26000 times.

In 2016 we were heard across 81 countries, in 2017 we managed 91, not yet a full DXCC, but getting close. Across the last two years we were heard across 111 countries.

Our online audience doubled in 2017.

On the on-air callbacks side of things the news was transmitted across stations in VK2, VK3, VK4, VK6, VK7 and VK8. Excluding downloads, we received 5634 callback reports, either on-air or online.

The most reported band was 2m with 3202 callbacks.

160m captured an audience of 744 listeners.

80m and 40m both managed just over 500 each.

Our largest growth was IRLP based audiences, those listening via VK3 and VK8 captured a callback audience of 417 people.

Callbacks on 20m were a little spotty, so the number of 232 is low.

There were a few individual callbacks on 6m, on CB channels and other broadcasts.

Out most listened to broadcast during 2017 was the broadcast of 9 July 2017 during which we announced that the ACMA had finally clarified how the Operation of a Club Station was legally intended to work.

All in all, we grew by leaps and bounds.


That's it for another year. Since 1931, this has been NewsWest produced and presented by WA Amateur Radio News for you, on-air, on-line and on-demand.

If you'd like to contribute to the news, send us an email, newswest@vk6.net is the address or if you're interested you can record a soapbox segment to make your contribution to the discussion on a topic of interest to Radio Amateurs in Western Australia, check the details on vk6.net.

Thanks again for listening. Look forward to hearing from you in 2018.

Safe and happy DX, now get on air and make some noise!