The CQ World Wide DX Contest

cqwwlogoFrom ARVic, original post here.

At the end of October comes the major CQ World Wide SSB Contest with lots of callsigns, many countries and zones on all bands from 160m to 10m.  For many this is an opportunity to snare a rare DX entity or two, mount up the tally for the DX Century Club, qualify for operating award or just for pure enjoyment.

Others are contest competitors seeking as many contacts as possible and sending in an entry.  All taking part are now working out the strategy to adopt, and of course have studied the contest rules at

Tips on what can be done are in this month’s Amateur Radio magazine Contest Column by Trent Sampson VK4TS.  Also in the column are the words of the ‘Contester of the Month’, Martin Luther VK7GN, who has some advice including a suggested approach for someone new to contesting.  The CQ World Wide SSB Contest is on October 29 and 30 – why not give it a try?

WIA membership – the importance of belonging


From the WIA, original post here.

Date : 24 / 10 / 2016 
Author : Roger Harrison – VK2ZRH

Many WIA membership renewals fall due at this time of the year.  Quite a few members recall it and make their renewal via the WIA website.  But, with busy lives, inevitably, some forget and will be sent a reminder letter from the National Office.  A number decide, for various reasons, to not renew.  Some just “let it slide” without any clear reason in mind.

Being a member of the Institute means different things to different people.  There may be many reasons to belong and, it seems, a countervailing range of reasons to not belong.  In this era, in which social media and short attention spans hold sway over many aspects of life, when membership renewal comes up, perhaps it’s time to remind ourselves about the role of the WIA in your life – whether you’re active on-air, or in your club, or just minimally involved and maintaining your licence for the day when you can return to the bands.

Every sphere of what the Institute does is explained graphically on the inside back cover of Amateur Radio magazine.  It comes down to three basic key things: Advocacy, Education and Support.  Advocacy is about representing radio amateurs’ collective interests nationally and internationally, to all the authorities and institutions that influence our licensing, licence conditions and our life on-air.  Nationally, taking it top-down, this means promoting the interests of Amateur Radio to government at federal and state level where necessity or opportunity arises.  The WIA has taken part in the federal government’s consultation on its Spectrum Review, which has led to the drafting of a new Radiocommunications Act, soon to be considered by the federal parliament.  Some years back, you may recall the Institute supported a campaign to have the New South Wales Government planning agency permit radio amateurs to erect antennas or masts up to 10 metres height, without needing council permission.

Next, it means working with the regulatory authority, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, one of the most important relationships the WIA maintains.  But it also includes representing Amateur Radio interest on relevant Standards Australia committees, for example.  Internationally, the WIA is a member of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), which advocates and represents our interests to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) that organises the important World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC).  These WRCs, held every few years, determine frequency allocations and global radio regulations.  You will recall that the last one was in November last year.  From that, Australian radio amateurs will get to use a new amateur band at 5.3 MHz.  The WIA’s ITU Specialist, Dale Hughes VK1DSH, as head of the Australian delegation to WRC-15, played an important role in securing that new band for amateur radio across the world.  Members are bought up to date on IARU matters through Amateur Radio magazine, broadcasts and the website. Continue reading →

Callsign recommendations and licence time limits


From the WIA, original post here.

Date : 20 / 10 / 2016 
Author : Jim Linton – VK3PC

The Wireless Institute of Australia has received queries about lapsed callsign recommendations by those who fail to pay the ACMA licence fee invoice on time.  Failure to pay the ACMA invoice within 28 days after it is issued results in the ACMA charging a ‘consideration fee’ of $28.

All WIA accessors and learning facilitators are reminded to tell candidates of the process, emphasising that the accuracy of candidate address and email accounts are vital to ensure against lost mail.  The ACMA licence invoice may also be inadvertently routed away from their inbox and into the email spam folder.  Please be on the lookout for an email from 

Apart from the ACMA ”consideration fee” it would expect to receive a new licence application along with a fresh WIA callsign recommendation, which will incur extra unnecessary expense.  The WIA Exam Service also sends an email to candidates congratulating them on getting a pass, and explains the ACMA licence invoice procedure.

If the ACMA invoice doesn’t arrive shortly after your name and recommend callsign appears on the ACMA database or you see that the displayed licence status is “Not Granted”, then please contact the ACMA Customer Service Centre via phone 1300 850 115 to make a credit card payment over the phone.  Or send an email to request an invoice copy.

ACMA reports increased new radio amateurs


From the WIA, original post here.

Date : 20 / 10 / 2016 
Author : Jim Linton – VK3PC

The Wireless Institute of Australia which provides the ACMA services had 1,271 exams, made 1,119 callsign recommendations, and issued certificates of proficiency.  In a break-down table, the ACMA reports an increase in new licences all amateur grades being issued in the 12 month period.  These were the Foundation Licence at 397, Standard Licence Standard 108, and the Advance Licence at 89, with an overall increase of 45.

The ACMA had a fall of 77 amateur licences on issue to 15,065 at June 2016, but reports a trend that each type of its 153,000 apparatus licences also declined in the last two years.  The timing of the WIA reporting period produces some variation when compared to ACMA licence numbers, and is mostly due to some problems with the new computerised SPECTRA licence database system.  Also there have been those who qualify through an assessment, obtain a WIA callsign recommendation, but have not been Granted an ACMA amateur station licence, due to non-payment of the invoice.

Meantime, a reduction in interference caused by dodgy Light Emitting Diodes or LED displays used for Christmas lights has resulted from an ACMA awareness campaign.  The ACMA continues its active monitoring and compliance program, and caught up in its net are pirate broadcasters, and a case of harassing and offensive transmissions on Citizen Band Radio.

The ACMA had also permitted phone jammer tests at the Lithgow and Goulburn jails, and are mindful that emissions from the normally illegal devices are not causing interference outside those correctional facilities.

Famous Ham Radio Operators

Following on from the sad news of the passing of the King Of Thailand and a comment by John VK2KC, I thought it may be prudent to have a look at some of the notable people who were/are Ham Radio Operators.

First, an acknowledgment to the peoples whose hard work I’ve stolen to collate the short highlight reel below – thank you!

It’s a given that many engineers and astro/cosmonauts are Hams – they work in technical fields, so it’s really not much of a surprise that they’re licenced.  Nevertheless, did you know that following people were Hams?

Ray Dolby (SK) – American engineer, founder of Dolby Laboratories, F5VBY
Akio Morita (SK) – Founder of Sony, JP1DPJ
Masaru Ibuka (SK) – Co-founder of Sony, J3BB
Bob Moog (SK) – Inventor of the Moog Synthesizer, K2AMH
Howard Hughes (SK) – Billionaire, Filmmaker, Aviator, Aircraft designer, W5CY
Leo Fender (SK) – Designer of Musical Instruments, Mr “Fender Electric Guitars”, W6DOE
Nolan Bushnell – Founder of Atari, W7DUK
David Packard (SK) – Co-founder of Hewlett Packard, 9DRV
Jack Kilby (SK) – Invented the Microchip and hand Held Digital Calculator, W9GTY

There are just too many astro/cosmonauts to name – they’re all amateurs (not really, but close).

How about some dignitaries or royalty?

Qaboos Bin Said Al-Said – Sultan of Oman, A41AA
King Hassan II (SK) – King of Morocco, CN8MH
Juan Carlos I of Spain, EA0JC
Bhumiphol Adulayadej (SK) – King of Thailand, HS1A
Francego Cossiga (SK) – Former Italian President, I0FCG
Keizo Obuchi – Japanese Prime Minister, JI1KIT
King Hussain of Jordan (SK) – JY1
Carlos Saul Menem – President of Argentina, LU1SM
Emil Lahoud – President of Lebanon, OD5LE
Prince Talal of Saudi Arabia, SU1VN
Rajiv Ghandi (SK) – Late Prime Minister of India, VU2RG
Albert II – Prince of Monaco, 3A0AG

From the ‘Well how about that?!” department:

Walter Cronkite (SK) – “The worlds most recognised” US television newsreader, KB2GSD
Patty Loveless – Country Music Singer, KD4WUJ
James Lance Bass – ‘N SYNC pop singer, KG4UYY
Paul Tibbets (SK) – pilot of the “Enola Gay” aircraft that dropped the first A-Bomb in WW2, K4ZVZ
Priscilla Presley – Film star & businesswoman. Was Married to Elvis Presley, NY6YOS
Joe Walsh – Of The Eagles & James Gang, WB6ACU
Donnie Osmond – Singer, WD4SKT
Sir Cliff Richard – Singer (USA callsign), W2JOF
Tim Allen – Actor, comedian, “Tim the Tool-Man Taylor”, KK6OTD
Marlon Brando (SK) – Hollywood Actor, KE6PZH and FO5GJ

And from the “Well, of course!” department:

Tokuzo Inoue – Founder of ICOM, JA3FA
Bob Heil – Legendary sound engineer to The Eagles & The Who, Head of Heil Sound, K9EID
Hiram Percy Maxim (SK) – Prolific Inventor & ARRL founder, W1AW
Dr “Joe” Taylor – Discovered binary pulsars, inventor of weak signal modes, K1JT

This list is by no means comprehensive, and there’s no doubt I’ve left some people off the list whose presence is more deserving; my apologies for anyone I’ve overlooked.  Regardless, I think you’ll agree we’ve got some esteemed company! 🙂  Paul, VK2ICQ