NewsWest 24 December Christmas Eve

Post date: Dec 23, 2017 9:55:21 AM

20171224 NewsWest Is Father Christmas an Amateur? What if he isn’t? Tune in to find out. Or are you afraid to know the truth?

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Ho ho ho. Or should that be Hi Hi Hi? Welcome to the NewsWest Christmas Hams edition for 2017. Today we have a range of Christmas fare for you. A variety of fruits and nuts will entertain and inform you about what’s happening in Amateur Radio in this yuletide season.

In the NewsWest pudding mix this week is Glynn VK6PAW, Onno VK6FLAB, and Roy VK6XV. I’m Bob VK6POP, the NewsWest pudding stirrer for this week

In the Christmas stocking this week we have the weekly contributions from the NewsWest Elves, these being Foundations of Amateur Radio from Elf Onno, Myths I have Known from myself and Roy’s ElfLine.

So let’s get stuck into it.

SK Len F. Jarrett, VE3MYF

Len . Jarrett, VE3MYF the former World JOTA Organizer, Len F. Jarrett, has gone home on 15 December 2017 at the age of 96 years.

Len was the Director of Administration of the World Scout Bureau for nearly 30 years, serving in England, Canada and Switzerland as the Bureau changed location.

He resigned as a full-time employee in 1981 and has subsequently been employed, on a part-time basis, as a consultant, working from his home in Canada and making periodic trips back to Geneva for another three years

After that, he worked on JOTA in a volunteer capacity. Len Jarrett received the Bronze Wolf Award in 1973.

Len has been involved in the Jamboree-On-The-Air from its inception and has acted as World JOTA Organizer from the 2nd JOTA in 1959 until the 31st JOTA in 1988.

Len has literally built the JOTA from an idea to the world-wide event it is today. He made a difference to us all.


And now to Amateur Radio Meetings across VK6 for the next week, with sleigh bells ringing…

The Northern Corridor Radio Group gather today as we go to air Sunday morning, with their weekly get together from 8:30am.

You’ll find them at the Neil Penfold State Amateur Radio Centre at the top end of Whiteman Park. Access via Gnangara Road.

I doubt the WA VHF Group will be having their meeting, Monday 8-10pm and I doubt you’ll find them at the Operators Cottage at Wireless Hill, in Ardross.

I’m not sure if on Tuesday night the NCRG will be having their monthly meeting from 7:30pm.

PRAWNHEADS will gather for lunch on Wednesday. Meet the crew this week specially at the National Hotel, 98 High Street in Fremantle. It’s a 12 noon start – but why not get there earlier.

Please touch base with your friends at the Radio Ladies Lunch group to see if lunch is still on 12 noon Wednesday, at the Bayswater Hotel, Beechboro Road is Bayswater, opposite the Bayswater Train Station.

That’s about it – I hope you enjoy your Christmas festivities, stay safe for the New Year.

To help us ensure the WA Amateur Community is kept up to date with when your club meetings or social gatherings are on, please review the calendar at and let us know of any additions, deletions or updates.

The magic address:

Ross Hull Memorial Contest

If you're looking to get started with an amateur radio new years resolution, why not start on the first of 2018 with the Ross Hull Memorial Contest. It runs for a month and the purpose is to encourage and reward achievement in working the greatest possible distances on the VHF, UHF and microwave bands.

The contest started in 1950 to honour Ross A Hull who pioneered achievements in the study of tropospheric propagation and the development of new equipment techniques for the higher bands.

You can operate all throughout the month of January and you get to pick which seven days count as your best effort. There's awards for analogue and digital, as well as a 2 day-effort score.

Scoring is pretty straightforward, 1 point per 100km. There are multipliers for each band. 6m gives you double points, 2m triples your effort, 70cm quintuples your distance, 23cm makes it octupled and if you want to go higher still, then you get to decuple your distance.

Any amateur logging software can be used, but if you're new to this, get a hold of VKCL, the VK Contest Logger, developed by Mike VK3AVV. The link for download of this free software is on where you'll also find a link to the WIA contest page for the Ross Hull Memorial Contest and a link to the 2018 rules.

Starting a New Year with a resolution to operate. The Ross Hull Memorial Contest is just the excuse you need.




A Ham's Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas,

And all through two-meters,

Not a signal was keying up

Any repeaters.

The antennas reached up

From the tower, quite high,

To catch the weak signals

That bounced from the sky.

The children, Technicians,

Took their HT's to bed,

And dreamed of the day

They'd be Extras, instead.

Mom put on her headphones,

I plugged in the key,

And we tuned 40 meters

For that rare ZK3.

When the meter was pegged

By a signal with power.

It smoked a small diode,

And, I swear, shook the tower.

Mom yanked off her phones,

And with all she could muster

Logged a spot of the signal

On the DX PacketCluster,

While I ran to the window

And peered up at the sky,

To see what could generate

RF that high.

It was way in the distance,

But the moon made it gleam -

A flying sleigh,

With an eight element beam,

And a little old driver

Who looked slightly mean,

So I though for a moment

That it might be Wayne Green.

But no, it was Santa,

The Santa of Hams,

On a mission this Christmas

To clean up the bands.

He circled the tower,

Then stopped in his track,

And he slid down the coax

Right into the shack.

While Mom and I hid

Behind stacks of CQ,

This Santa of hamming

Knew just what to do.

He cleared off the shack desk

Of paper and parts,

And filled out all my late

QSLs, for a start.

He ran copper braid,

Took a steel rod and pounded

It into the earth

Till the station was grounded.

He tightened loose fittings,

Resoldered connections,

Cranked down modulation,

Installed lightning protection.

He neutralized tubes

In my linear amp...

(Never worked right before –

Now it works like a champ).

A new low-pass filter

Cleaned up the TV.

He corrected the settings

In my TNC.

He repaired the computer

That wouldn't compute,

And he backed up the hard drive

And got it to boot.

Then, he reached really deep

In the bag that he brought,

And he pulled out a big box.

"A new rig?" I thought!

"A new Kenwood? An Icom?

A Yaesu, for me?

An Elecraft, TEN-TEC

Or Flex, could it be!"

(If he thought I'd been bad

It might be QRP!)

Yes! The Ultimate station!

How could I deserve this?

Could it be all those weekends

I worked Public Service?

He hooked it all up

And in record time, quickly

Worked 100 countries,

All down on 160.

I should have been happy.

It was my call he sent.

But the cards and the postage

Will cost a month's rent!

He made final adjustments,

And left a card by the key:

"To Gary, from Santa Claus.


Then he grabbed his HT,

Looked me straight in the eye,

Punched a code on the pad,

And was gone - no good bye.

I ran back to the station,

And the pile up was big.

But a card from St. Nick

Would be worth my new rig.

Oh, too late, for his final

Came over the air.

It was copied all over.

It was heard everywhere.

The Ham's Santa exclaimed

What an old ham expects:

"Merry Christmas to all,

And to all, good DX."

© 1996, 2016 Gary Pearce KN4AQ

Permission granted for any print, or electronic reproduction, no advance approval required.

08 Father Christmas isn’t an Amateur

When listening around the Ham bands, reading comments on social media and email reflectors, even talking face to face with Amateurs, I sometimes hear things said that are simply wrong. In this series I seek to address some of these myths.

I was fiddling around in my shack the other day, as you do, and at the same time, also as many of us do, I was listening to a QSO on eighty metres.

There was the usual chat about the weather not being the same as it was this time ten years ago, how there’s nobody on the bands these days, and just as well because the bands are dead anyway. I heard about two hip replacements, a triple bypass and a knee reconstruction. You know, the everyday stuff of an aging Amateur population.

Then, there it was. Someone was saying the unspeakable. Father Christmas isn’t really an Amateur. Father Christmas was never on air, and that it was really our parents working the bands after we went to sleep.

I was shattered to hear this. Could it be true? A whole belief system challenged in one careless QSO.

Well I wasnt going to take this lightly, so I set out to discover the truth. The real truth about Father Christmas. After all, I’d just lodged my Christmas wishlist with him. What if he were suddenly not really an Amateur?

I asked Saint Google if Father Christmas was an Amateur Radio Operator. Google returned one million non results in zero point seven five seconds. So I asked on air. I called on several bands, and returned no results. Nobody answered my calls.

Did this mean that there was nobody on air, or did it mean that nobody was willing to discuss the possibility that Father Christmas was an Amateur Radio Muggle? A wall of silence.

Now I have this vision of Amateur Radio Operators worldwide, snuggled up in bed tonight, waiting for sleep and the visit from Santa. They will dream of their Christmas stocking bulging with Amateur Radio goodies, while desperately attempting to expunge the thoughts of doubt and disappointment.

Is Father Christmas an Amateur Radio Operator? I think he is.

I’m Bob


Next Week 2017 Wrap Up

WOW – 2017 has been a big year for everyone.

For me – it’s been a few more radios (surprise!), antennas (surprise!), and a deep dive into DMR and Brandmeister. I’m loving the challenges it brings, and look forward to playing with some Raspberry Pi experiments into 2018.

What has 2017 meant to you, or to your club???

Next week NewWest is producing a wrap up of 2017 – and look forward to hearing from you.

Record, save to MP3 and send, or write, to

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We look forward to you contribution.


Summer VHF/UHF Field Days

Another contest event for planning into 2018…

The SUMMER VHF/UHF field days in on 13-th14th January. With Christmas just around the corner – I’d suggest you start getting organised now.

The overriding aim is to get away for the weekend and have fun!

But next after that, the aims are to:

- encourage more activity on VHF and microwave bands;

- encourage people to work greater distances than usual by operating portable, and

- provide opportunities for people to activate or work into new grid squares.

The VHF-UHF Field Days provide VHF-UHF operators with the opportunity to "head for the hills" and see how far and how many they can work.

The Field Days have separate sections for single and multiple operator stations.

The duration of the Field Day is 24 hours, but there are also 8 hour sections for operators who may not be able to camp overnight.

Most club stations prefer to operate for the full 24 hours.

The Field Days also generate plenty of activity from home stations, so there is also a separate Home Station section.

All contacts must be simplex: contacts through repeaters or satellites are not allowed.

There’s obviously plenty of FM activity, but one feature of the Field Days is a high level of SSB activity.

It is possible to do very well with only modest antennas if you pick a good hilltop.

Another option, if your station is easily transportable, is to operate from more than one location during the contest period.

There’s a heap of information in the links from this story on

20171224 What will Santa Give to Your Shack?

Which of Santa’s lists is your Amateur Radio Shack on? The naughty list? The nice list? No list at all?

I was surfing around the net the other day looking for Amateur Radio Christmas ideas, and was pleasantly surprised at what’s available for your shack at Christmas.

I found T Shirts with amateur Radio motifs and slogans printed on them. I found Amateur Radio themed ceramic Christmas tree ornaments. There are Ham Radio Christmas cards, and more.

Then of course there’s you. Are you a Christmas Ham? Did you ask Santa for something special for Christmas? If you did, then I hope your request was heard, and that Santa’s elves have it all wrapped and ready to go.


We’ve nearly finished our Christmas news feast. Just a few more things and we can all tuck into the pudding. As you’ve already heard, next week is the New Year’s Eve edition, and we’ll look back on 2017. You can help by sending us your 2017 memories and achievements. You know the deal, send your text and/or recording to

The NewsWest team wishes you and your family all the very best for a happy Christmas. Thanks to the broadcasting elves, and the NewsWest Elves, Onno, Glynn and Roy. I’m Bob VK6POP the NewsWest Elf in charge this week.

Drive carefully, drink sensibly, love your family, and get on air and make some noise.