International Marconi Day 2017 is on this weekend!

Thanks to Henry VK2ZHE for the head-up!  Fire up your HF rigs this weekend!

The Cornish Radio Amateur Club (GX4CRC), organisers of International Marconi Day (IMD), states:

International Marconi Day celebrates the huge part Guglielmo Marconi played in the invention of radio.

International Marconi Day is a 24 hour amateur radio event that is held annually to celebrate the birth of Marconi on 25 April 1874.  The event is usually held on the Saturday closest to Marconi’s birthday and in 2017 it will be held on 22nd April.

Period of Operation on 22nd April 2017 – 0000 UTC  to 2359 UTC

The purpose of the day is for amateur radio enthusiasts around the world to make contact with historic Marconi sites using communication techniques similar to those used by Marconi himself.

The Hornsby And Districts Amateur Radio Club will be operating VK2IMD for the event.  The HADARC page for the event states (paraphrased):

VK2IMD is the only IMD station in Australia.  It gains this privilege because of the wireless communication experiments conducted personally between Ernest Fisk and Marconi in 1918.  Fisk established the Australian end of the experiment at his home in Wahroonga, giving the historical significance to our local area.

Operators can be part of IMD by going on air, contacting VK2IMD and other IMD stations and, if you meet the criteria, you can apply for an IMD Award (details of the awards are on the IMD website).

Operation starts at 00.00 UTC and finishes 23.59 UTC Saturday 22 April.  This is from 10.00 local time Saturday morning to 09.59 local time Sunday morning.

Operation is on all HF bands and 160m, permitted modes are CW, SSB, AM, and available digital modes only.


AX prefix for ANZAC Day

From the WIA, original post here.

Date : 15 / 04 / 2017
Author : Jim Linton – VK3PC

The ACMA automatically allows all radio amateurs to substitute their normal VK callsign prefix with the letters AX, on ANZAC Day, April 25.  The AX prefix is popular among prefix hunters and others, with the use of a special QSL card encouraged by the Wireless Institute of Australia.

Among the commemorative events on ANZAC Day will be the former Army Apprentices School ‘Balcombe’ at Mt Martha on the Mornington Peninsula south of Melbourne.  The trades school began in 1948 graduating more than 5,000 Army Apprentices before being re-located to Bonegilla, near Wodonga in December 1982.  Former bandsman Johnno Karr AX3FMPB will revisit the site of his former school and be heard on air for ANZAC Day this Tuesday.

The traditional AM & CW event organized by Mike ‘Banjo’ Patterson VK4MIK will again take to the air for the 7th year.  It honours those modes used by service personnel in earlier wars – AM and CW.  The Tableland Radio Group of Far North Queensland will be operating from Rocky Creek War Memorial site next to the WWII Igloo, which has been rebuilt by Atherton Rotary Club, under the callsign of AX4GHL.

The Ex-HMAS Diamantina will be operating as AX4RAN from 0300 to 0700UTC on CW on 7020/7025 and 14038/14052 plus or minus.  The frigate was operational during World War II.

A number of radio amateurs from Ingham, in North Queensland, hope to be operating from the Herbert River RSL and will be operating on a range of frequencies with the callsign AX4MS.

The Townsville Amateur Radio Club will be AX4WIT from the Club Rooms in Green Street, which were part of the camouflage used to protect the RAAF WWII Pacific Theatre Communications Centre rom enemy bombing.  AX4WIT will be operational from 0001Z AM and CW on 7115.  Ex-Serviceman Eldon ‘Don’ Bryant will be active during the evening using HF/AM from his home QTH as AX4FNQA.

Nick Watling VK4YT of Cairns will have his military radio set up on air. The US Army radio of Korean War vintage was in use for the early part of the Vietnam War.

Hopefully more stations will be also operating and switching to the old modes during the day.

Belgium gets ready for WWI ‘radio’ centenary event

From the WIA, original post here.

Date : 06 / 04 / 2017
Author : Jim Linton – VK3PC

The Royal Belgian Amateur Radio Union (UBE) as part of the 100 years Battle of the Mines remembrance in June, will have an event specifically focused on the use of radio in World War I.  An expo at the City of Mesen near Ypres is about a forgotten army: ‘The people and material of radio communication in WWI,’ and the UBE will tour related nearby war sites.

In an afternoon seminar on June 3, Major Dr Tom Simoens will speak about the tele-radio communication in the Belgian Army.  The UBE proudly joined the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) in its ANZAC 100 program in 2015 for the centenary of Gallipoli.  Now at the City of Mesen town hall the development of radio technologies and the evolution of communication will be on show with historic material.

UBE will have commemorative station OP0PPY (OP zero PPY) active June 2-11 on HF using CW and SSB, VHF, UHF and through digital and analogue repeaters.

Aussies tracking satellite

From the WIA, original post here.

Date : 06 / 04 / 2017
Author : Fred Swainston – VK3DAC

Students of the FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences in Germany will launch the COMPASS 2 cube-sat in May and are at looking for a possible ground station partner in Australia.  International Space Station Crew Fund Scholarship winner for 2017, Ian Benecken has asked the Wireless Institute of Australia for help to track it.

COMPASS 2 is to be launched from a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle by the Indian Space Research Organisation carrying other commercial satellites.  From a polar 600 kilometre high orbit the cube-sat will beacon once a minute the callsign of ON04DL (ON zero four DL) on 437.300 MHz.  The unique location of Australia makes it ideal for partner ground stations, and already it has piqued an interest from the ARISS telebridge centres on VK4, VK5 and VK6.

Soon to be published is software that anyone can use to decode the beacon signal and the launch is likely to be on the 1st or 2nd week of May.

If you wish to contact Ian Benecken his email address is ian.benecken

Fred Swainston VK3DAC/VK4FE, WIA STEM Coordinator

Australian university students to launch satellite in 2018

From the WIA, original post here.

Date : 06 / 04 / 2017
Author : Fred Swainston – VK3DAC

Students at the University of Melbourne are well advanced on a program to build a nano-satellite, with the Wireless Institute of Australia assisting in the IARU frequency and other coordination processes.  Through the Melbourne Space Program (MSP) affiliated with the University of Melbourne, all is moving ahead for a hand-over of the nano-satellite in November and a launch as early as January 2018.  Funding comes from the University of Melbourne, while the Melbourne Space Program is an organisation that holds the licensing, and other matters related to the launch.

It has involved a group of ambitious students, seeking to understand and help redefine the Australian space sector through innovation in education, economics and policy, as well as engineering.

Australia is the only Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nation without a space agency.  In 1966, University of Melbourne students built Australia’s first satellite that was launched in 1970 as Australis Oscar 5, to be tracked by 200 radio amateurs in 27 different countries.

The Melbourne Space Program has about 70 active members who are students ranging from 1st year university to masters level and post-graduate.

The key objectives include being the first students to launch an Australian nano-satellite, create education, research in space, collaborate with academia and industry, and promote gender parity in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and Arts disciplines.

Work was continuing launch Australia’s first nano-satellite and more news is expected in coming months.

Fred Swainston VK3DAC/VK4FE, WIA STEM Coordinator