The following is an excerpt from the International Amateur Radio Union Monitoring System (IARUMS) Region 1 December 2016 newsletter which can be read in full here. The IARUMS monitors the state of the Amateur bands and reports on interference and Intruders. See their website here.
VK5EEE offers the following opinion piece on the state of the Australian Amateur scene:
[Commenting on previous reports of South American Fisherman using the Ham bands]
I’m not surprised to hear this about Latin American region. My antennas seem to favour that area but I almost never (at least on CW) hear any active radio hams there. I think it could be useful to report findings from around the world about the general state of QRM on our bands, and what could be done short, medium, long term to forecast and reverse these trends. In our area our 40m CW band is useless in the evenings due to strong SSB QRM every 5kHz USB and LSB — which thus covers the entire CW band — from powerful Indonesian pirates. These pirates also seem to occupy a great many frequencies between 10000 and 11400kHz – there are huge number of them in a population of 200 million.
THAILAND A GOOD EXAMPLE
But we can contrast Indonesia to Thailand where there are a total of ZERO pirates on HF. In HS-land you cannot buy any gear without showing license. You cannot import either without inspection. And you cannot operate in any location without a location license in addition to your operating license, and this system clearly works, no matter it is a bit slow to get a ham license.
This even though the HF population of HS amateurs is quite small, perhaps 200 or less, while the VHF population of HS amateurs is high, a quarter million or so. The radio amateur license density per population in Thailand is at a rough guess 10 times what it is in Australia.
CW BAND PRIME TARGET FOR PIRATES
For CW operators, the problem is pirates which almost invariably use SSB, of course use the CW band, because there, they hear no other SSB. They don’t use the SSB parts of the band because then they would be afraid when they hear a strong local SSB radio amateur telling them off, or even direction finding them potentially. So some CW operators, myself included, have gravitated to the SSB part of the band, which after all is shared CW-SSB it’s fine for CW, and due to radio amateur inactivity, it is also often empty. Right now, 20m and 17m are open — and yet tuning the entire bands from top to bottom and bottom to top several times, I did not hear ONE radio amateur signal on CW nor SSB, nor Data.
NATIONAL SOCIETY FAILURE
During the week day, and remember a great many hams are retired, I can more often than not tune the entire 40m band also without hearing any SSB, Data, nor CW. And this even though the now manifestly corrupt national society seeks in a misguided effort to make amateur radio a public CB social media extension, they have not succeeded. They have taken the view that amateur radio is in decline and the way to reverse that is to make it easier to get a license at least at lowest level (which still gives 100W, though officially 10W, to anyone sitting a short course without possibility of failure, and then access to 80m, 40m, 15m, 10m) and yet the vast majority of these don’t get on air since amateur radio offers little to them compared to internet social media. Continue reading →