eHam Forums / Clubs / RE: china's transceiver museum will be inaugurated
on: July 13, 2013, 08:51:05 PM
Will there be an on-the-air Ham Station
in the Museum? If so, operating times &
frequencies would be of interest.
It would be good if some vintage radio
can be heard / worked on-air.
(Sweden has a Museum, which features
an operational Ham station inside... and
a nice tower-mounted antenna outside.
Licensed Hams are scheduled for demon-
strations of the hobby, & I think licensed
visitors could operate, when a volunteer
Ham staffer was present.)
From a location, high in a mountainous
region, I hope the Chinese station can be
heard around the planet.
If the location offers low-noise reception,
perhaps it will someday have a radiotele-
eHam Forums / Clubs / Can Ham Clubs & peak bodies "kill" Hams' -creative- spirit?
on: July 13, 2013, 08:05:46 PM
When I compare the levels of creativity by Internet hackers (by which I mean folks - usually programmers - who create new on-line technologies) to those shown by some our local Ham Radio hackers, I sometimes wonder if these locals Hams are being short-changed.
I recently heard a local Ham (who is very active in promoting Amateur Radio as a secondary source of trained Emergency Service communications volunteers, etc.) -bemoan- the fact that he's found it -harder- to get several of our State's emergency services to recognize & (even formally) open the doors to participation by Hams from his civil emergency network, despite past participation by its members in helping to facilitate large community events (car-, bike- & foot-races, etc.)
Reflecting on what Radio Clubs & the larger Ham Radio peak body seem to ask / expect local Radio Amateurs to do, I'm starting to understand why, eg, Radio Hams are -not- always welcomed to work beside our [paid] emergency services, at least in South Australia.
After -each- regular Sunday morning WIA broadcast, upwards of 60 Radio Hams line-up, for chance to "thank the relay operators" for the broadcast. Oh, they can also say, eg, "Good morning to all," too, if they wish... but almost -no- thoughtful (or other) -conversation- goes on, during the 20 - 30 minutes of "call-backs" on the most -popular- repeater in the State of South Australia, after those morning broadcasts!
This week's WIA broadcast brought news that a local Ham Club was about to hold a -second- technical night on the construction of -one- particular VHF / UHF antenna. (I gather that the task -couldn't- be completed in the -first- of the two tech' nights...)
Making identical copies of a -single- antenna desigh is like being in a "Technical Arts" class & being asked to fold a given length of metal into a -specified- triangular shape, to serve as the base for a 3-candle holder, where each student fastens -identical- candle holders (with -identical- wax-catchers), onto -each- of those -identical- bases, using -identical- fasteners! Oy!
Each level of Ham organisation seems to be positioning a -diverse- group of individuals into a group of "factory workers" ...ie, rather than into a group of curious, experimental individuals, prepared to take [small] Risks, eg, making small changes to a design & comparing the results of all the variations produced in the group.
(So, even if a -single- antenna design is all that's on offer, for a Radio Club's technical night, why couldn't a range of rod -diameters- be available (eg, to see / show how rod diameter might affect the width of the resulting "low-SWR" band of frequencies, for that antenna design)? Why couldn't various metals be offered, or even some some mixed-material solutions (eg, fibre glass or carbon fiber, covered with, say, a layer of cheap aluminum foil, copper foil, etc.)
Why couldn't several groups work on as many different antenna designs? Perhaps, after creating antennas of each design, the groups could compare the performance, across the design types.
I suppose that -younger- members would be more likely to be -limited- in their habits of thinking than older ones, by such "single-idea-in-mind" regimentation.
Let's compare "the way we are" today with how we might become, in future, eg, by examining some recently published additions to the cost-free Khan Academy library of tutorial videos, eg - in the Science / Project catagories:
Consider the mind-expanding:
a. "Reverse Engineering" sequence (in which various household items - from a cheap wall-clock to a more costly digital camera - are take apart & their components examined for a better understood of each)
b. a follow-on Robotics sequence (which -uses- a selection of components - which were exposed & examined in "Reverse Engineering" along with a few purchased modules - to build an Arduino-based robot toy for kids... also encouraging / enabling an older child or parent to try to build one for a younger child).
Is Amateur Radio just a Fun Hobby -or- can we continue to embrace its Self-Educational tradition, as Internet hackers seem to have done?
I - for one - feel we need -both- & it would be good to -consciously- make efforts to insure that Radio Hams' be encouraged to think a bit outside the norm, oftener than Radio clubs seem to be doing now.
Why do we need clever engineering skills in Amateur Radio, etc.?
After Fukushima's nuclear power plant near melt downs, we - quite rightly - began to ask:
+ Is nuclear power really safe?
To answer this type of questions, we need minds with more "granularity" that can look "inside the box" and understand the implications of each -type- of design... and the implications of each feature of these designs.
So, before we answer the above safety question, let's ask a similar one:
+ Are cars safe?
In each case, it depends on the design; we need to be able to understand & "fiddle with" (ie, improve, at least on paper) some of the important designs we come into contact with, in media & Life.
(I'm happy to say that there's a growing "movement" of very bright & clever people re-thinking th safety of nuclear energy...
Calls to promote "Energy from Thorium" are replacing calls to "Shut Off all Nukes!" ...because such people are analyzing & comparing different kinds of designs... and embracing -safer- ones.
A young [re-]thinker on a possible -safe- nuclear powered future:
A middle-aged thinker / engineer's thoughts on similar topics:
A mature-aged scientist covers related topics, more fully:
. "Thorium as Nuclear Fuel in the Molten Salt Reactor"
. - Prof. Dr. Eduardo Greaves (from Venezuala)
(Want more details - from a wider range of sources?
So, search YouTube.com for "Thorium Remix 2011")
eHam Forums / Licensing / RE: Volunteer Examiners - I have a few questions for you!
on: April 06, 2013, 08:39:32 PM
Hi Rose :-)
Well, the further you're willing to travel
from centers of Ham radio activity, the
more likely you are to be one of the few
VE's ready to give exam's there... ;-)
In AU, there are lots of smaller towns &
some indigenous communities where
radio hobbyist might be wanting to be
examined, eg, after preparing, by way
of leaving CB behind (or just adding a
new hobby to a growing list: SWL, CB,
(Of course, any time there's an existing
radio club, you can ask for a chance to
go along - as if in "training mode" - as a
willing extra helper. Who would say No?)
Today - more than ever - women would
be welcomed, so you should get a chance
do more than pass-out or collect exam-
papers... but even if you must do that -
at first - I'd say you'd be able to get a
good feeling of a well-run "exam day"
operation, if the one you pick is well-run.
Of course, you could also create a team
of your own, ie, rather than waiting for
an elderly examiner to "fall-off-the-perch"
at an existing team.
Best experiences: Just seeing the faces
of the folks who've -passed- one or more
of their exam elements, when I tell them
the good news.
Worst experience: When a well-liked &
hard-working Radio Scout adviser took
some of the exams, that he hoped would
get him a license... -didn't- pass... First,
it hurt to check his exam paper; later, it
hurt again to have to tell him the news. :-/
eHam Forums / Licensing / RE: CENSORSHIP and Amateur Radio
on: April 06, 2013, 08:19:03 PM
Now, I'm -not- one to use "swear" words,
except in my own company - very occas-
ionally - ie, if I whack my sore knee on the
underside of a table... OUCH!
But we all -hear- more "swear" words in
our TV shows & cinema movies, -much-
more often than I -ever- heard, as a kid
on the same screens.
The Internet has more, yet, at least in
some places. (I don't see these, mostly,
-unless- they "pop-up" in my browser.)
If a person doesn't have a good, rich,
civil social circle or three to balance-
out all those "expletives" out of their
consciousness, they might get the im-
pression that we -all- talk like those
we hear in movies, etc.
My solution: Be just as selective in
choosing items for my "media diet"
as I am about my -food- intake.
So, I'll choose a lovely music enriched
Bollywood movie (despite culturaly dif-
ferences, I manage to get a -lot- from
carefully chosen Hindi movies, provi-
ded, of course, they have English sub-
When local current event shows or
interviews seem either noisy, dim,
or "impatient," ...No problem!
I'll just "go to Canada" (or California,
etc.)... via Podcast! :-)
Using Juice 2.2 on an old XP-based box
(or iTunes on any other Win ot Mac OS
boxes that are handy), I fetch podcasts
like these, which take the time to hear
lots more views, while keeping partici-
pants cool & collected (mostly), or I
just tune to something else.
. + Forum (two 1-hour topics / weekday)
. + Perspective (almost anyone's words)
. + As It Happens (warm, calm cur. events)
. + The Current (warm, in-depth cur. events)
Around the edges, I may have BBC, DW =
Deutsche Wella (sp?) or Radio Netherlands
content (often via an ABC AM-station).
If I'm using an Android device, "the World's
my Oyster" using the Internet radio feature
of "TuneIn" or (if I want to record, say, an
episode of "News from Lake Wobegon") the
non-free "TuneIn Pro" (Android app's).
If one or more are tying up a repeater with
uninteresting topics, I try another or just
As one who tries to archive the more inter-
esting podcasts, until I've listened to them,
or storage is exhausted, G-d knows I have
much more interesting content around to
And... I don't waste my time trying to set-
tle folks down on-air... I go off to "greener
fields of content" - sometimes "Greener"
ones, eg, Electric Vehicles or Thorium-based
Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTR's),
eg, currently being promoted (eg, in TED-
talks, at TED.com) by the likes of:
+ Shai Agassi (on battery-swappable EV's)
+ Kirk Sorensen (on safer, 4G LFTR's)
Easy fix to evaporating problems, eh? :-)
eHam Forums / Licensing / RE: AU: As Gov't Election approaches, ACMA (AU's "FCC") visits big HAM clubs
on: April 06, 2013, 07:33:27 PM
Thanks for that...
It was good to confirm that CA's Ham tickets cost $0
...reminding me that, in at least 2 N Amer lands,
+ "The best things in this Life are Free"
. (rather than profit centers for gov'ts)
I'm not surprised that CA's Ham regulators have
seen fit to show their user-friendly IT capabilities,
eg, in a free-to-use IT call-sign selection we app.
(Skype used to let you choose your own phone-
number (DID #), in pre-Microsoft-merger days.
And at least one of our on-shore VoIP providers
lets one choose phone-numbers from short lists
which can be generated until you find one you
can relate to or like.)
ACMA's online RadCom search facility is only for
looking-up -existing- license data, & - if you for-
get to renew - access to your details disappears!
While you can search for unused call-signs, this
"quick-loss of call-sign" due to belated renewal
seems harsh, eg, if ACMA or AU Post loses the
payment or misapplies it to another account.
I think we do it -much- better when our ID is
stamped on metal plates, eg, Motor (vehicle)
Registration... you'd keep your plate number
if your payment comes in a bit late.
Licensing agencies should adopt the example.)
Your no-cost Morse & Basic exam experience
shows that some examiners aren't doing if for
I've seen 3-digit dollar costs for WIA's Exams,
-PLUS- another 3-digit cost for examiners, ie,
when exams in AU began to cost money.
The largest ARC in Adelaide publishes -their-
fees (see URL below), but I've not seen any
table of -all- fees, across examiners in AU,
that might help a traveler to "shop around."
. (Adult: AU$ 181 & Under 18: AU$ 149)
(Fees seem to include AU$ 64 license fee,
charged by ACMA, if enough exams are
passed to earn one. AU$ 41.80 f. upgrade)
More bureaucracy is to be found in "training"
for an Ham exam, that seems -analogous- to
the "lengthening" of mode codes; remember
the old days of A1, A3, etc.? Compare these
abbreviations to the longer ones (sometimes
with excess 0's within) seen today, at least
in AU, eg:
+ VKS737's SSB license mode: "3K00K3E"
. as found in ACMA's online RadCom database
Wasn't that something like A3J, earlier?
I guess international standards changed 'em.
'happy to hear you didn't have to pay for a
Ham license, during your visit to AU. (This
seems better than the situation for driving;
when I first visited, on a tourist visit, I was
advised to have an "Int'l drivers license,"
which cost (from memory) about US$ 10,
AU's gov't tends to be "nice" to folks who
have paid so much to get here.
(German tourists don't even need a visa to
visit AU for 3 months, last time I checked;
while those from, eg, China, etc. require a
visa, or so I've been told.)
Thanks, again, for the leads to CA's info.
eHam Forums / Licensing / AU: ACMA's High Power by "Poll Tax" ...comes with "Training Wheels"
on: April 06, 2013, 05:19:19 PM
Australia's FCC-counterpart is:
- Australian Communications & Media Authority
Soon after Radio Amateurs in neighboring New Zealand
were authorized higher transmit power, ACMA -finally-
got the idea, that Australia's Hams should have similar
However, ACMA could not see itself to "trust" AU's Hams
to use high transmit power, ie, without "training wheels"
attached, in the form of a "trial" of unspecified duration
AFAIK), and without a clear indication of what might lead
ACMA to (someday, maybe) -include- that privilege into
at least the Advanced Class licensees' Conditions list.
By contrast, New Zealand's Radio Amateurs were deemed
to be sufficiently responsible & technically competent to
merit automatic granting of Higher Power privileges, ie,
en masse (presumably, if their license class was high
No trial period... but wait, there's another nuisance to
endure, only in Australia:
Perhaps to effectively -reduce- the number of AU Ham's
who would have the privilege to use the new Higher
Power transmit privilege, Australia's regulator required
an insulting Application to be in their "trial."
Adding cost to the undue insult of a "With Your Leave,
Your Highness" Application requirement...
Being "overcharged" AU$ 60 per year, by ACMA,
for their Amateur license alone (while US & CA's
hams enjoy Cost-Free licenses)...
Aussie Hams well & truly deserve at -least- some
improved additional value to be dropped into the
But no... it was not to be... Instead:
ACMA required any Advanced Class Ham, wanting
to "trial" the new higher power levels, to pay a
"Poll Tax" - in the form of an Application Fee -
to support an undue "make work" administrative
check - by ACMA - on each applying Ham...?
(Their more -trusted- mates, across the Tasman,
got High Transmit Power privileges as a cost-free
"Value-Add" to their license privileges.
I recently learned - via ABC's Radio National, or
a sibbling service - that NZ's colonial history was
"fairer" on one point:
The British in New Zealand negotiated -treaties-
with the land's indigenous peoples; there was
-not- imaginary "Terrus Nullus" myth in NZ, as
was used to justify pushing Australian aborig-
inees from their lands, as more settlers arrived
or moved across AU.
"Past is Prologue" - by which I mean to suggest
that New Zealand seems to have a Tradition of
If you doubt me, on this point, I would mention
& compare the ways NZ & AU treated earlier
waves of Asylum-seekers ("boat people" or
"queue-jumpers" in AU), in recent decades.
While NZ earned the respect of decent people
by settling their Asylums-seekers out in their
communities, where they could work & help
pay their ways, in what might become their
AU build costly "detention centers" with un-
friendly razor-wire fencing & undue restric-
tions on meetings between Aussies & their
Asylum-seeker arrivals... contracted with
foreign "prison operators" to run them... &
- later - watched reports of rampant suicide-
attempts, destruction of facilities, & children
growing up in psychologically-dangerous,
prison-like environments, eg, so that - in
then PM John Howard's words:
- "We [could] decide who will come to AU."
(I shudder when I recall -false- reports of
"children overboard" in AU's media, during
earlier, but still recent, periods in AU's
history... I'm sure many Aussies do, too.)
I feel these governments' "cultural" differ-
ences explain the contrasting actions of
AU's Amateur Radio regimes - over time -
in contrast to NZ's apparently more Amateur-
friendly radio communications regulators.
So, while -all- eligible New Zealand Amateurs
-now- enjoy High Transmit Power privileges,
if they choose to use them...
Last we heard, only 230 Australian Hams had
accepted ACMA's unduly -insulting- offer, ie,
to pay a "Poll-Tax" & complete a "May it Please
the ACMA" Application for "Training Wheels"
for High Transmit Power privileges, in the hope
that - someday - ACMA will have found some
reason to justify granting Australia's Hams the
same "Value-Add" that NZ's Amateurs got by
a stronger, friendlier Tradition of Fairness.
(Why haven't more of AU's Ham's applied...?
Perhaps the logic is: Let the "early adopters" open
the door for the, rest of us, to the Higher Transmit
Power privilege, assuming it might be added to ALL
Advanced Class license holders' privilege list.)
May such a Tradition "infiltrate" & "take-over"
ACMA & other departments of AU's Gov't soon,
so we in AU can begin to stand a little taller
as Radio Amateurs, rather than fearing that
our gov't is sufficiently unsupportive of our
Hobby & World Fraternity that it would rather
tax/charge & harass AU's part of it out of
existence, eg, by:
- treating Aussie Hams with prejudice, ie,
instead of respect, eg, when belatedly up-
dating Amateur license privileges, in light
of more generous World Best practice;
- retaining excessive License fees & raising
them all too frequently (in recent years);
- showing disdain to Radio Amateurs, eg,
by permanently -halving- multi-million $
License fees of -commercial- TV broad-
casters, in the light of excessive Ham
License fees (compared to cost-free US
& - recently - Canadian Amateur fees);
- labeling elements of License fees unduly
as taxes, thereby making them difficult
to negotiate downward;
- reducing frequency allocations unduly;
- maintaining undue & leftover restrictions
(eg, banning "auto-patches" & "phone-inter-
connects," enacted long-ago to protect its
telco monopoly, of that dark era);
"Past is Prologue" ...but only -until- we Hams
begin to "push-back" on undue fees, "make-
work" apply-for-trial nonsense, & insist that
AU's Radio Amateurs are afforded a World
Best Practice approach to privileges, and
eHam Forums / Licensing / RE: AU: As Gov't Election approaches, ACMA (AU's "FCC") visits big HAM clubs
on: April 01, 2013, 06:42:02 PM
(Below are excerpts from a reply to the more senior ACMA rep, who - after presenting his talks in Adelaide, South AU, eMailed me with changes.
As his eMail was longer & slightly more complex than that
rec'd from the AHARS president, I have asked his permis-
sion to publish his letter, which offers Corrections to some
details of my original post (OP), in this thread.)
- - -
Our reply to the eMail from visiting ACMA representative:
FYI, I managed to pen a -lengthy- reply to David Clegg, Pres. AHARS, ie, -before- noticing your semi-lengthy eMail - which cites a post on eHam.net, which you feel misrepresents some aspects of your arrangements to speak at several SA ARC's, etc. Thus, that reply (to AHARS Pres., <snip>) may, in part, be based on assumptions, which - you've advised - are false,
both in my reply to his eMail & a copy of that reply on eHam.
(I abbreviate freely above & elsewhere, assuming, that you may be <call-sign>, <snip>... and can easily decode
each such abbreviation.)
Rather than rely on a summary - by me - of your points-of-correction, in your eMail (below), I propose that - with your permission - I Copy & Paste the body of your eMail (or more of it, if you like) into a new Errata-post, at eHam.com, of course, with full attribution to yourself, by way of letting your voice be "heard" (in a new reply post, in the thread, which you cited in your eMail to me, et al.), eg, correcting any points in the cited post, which may suggest any misunderstanding on my part.
First, let me correct a false point in your eMail: As it hap-
pens, I did -not- attend any of your SA presentations.
So, I have no idea whether you would have dealt -fairly-
with your topic(s), nor what that/those topics might have
been, eg, pointing out conditions allowing possession
of unusual devices, etc. (eg, as collectable objects,
rather than intending to operate transmitters inside).
Kindly send a copy of your PowerPoint(s) on a disc, or
- better - see that any video(s) of any of your SA talks
are posted on YouTube.com, eg, by -authorizing- the
Club(s) or person(s), who may have recorded them,
to -upload- them to YouTube.com, for those who,
like myself, were unable to attend, as well as for those
who may want to review any points missed, in the talk.
(As I trust you would know, YouTube is no longer "just
for cute kittens, doing funny things."
Eg, lengthy videos of talks & panel discussions on (future use of) -safer- 4th generation "Liquid Fuel Thorium Reactors" (LFTRs) are -also- available there, & I would recommend them to you, if I knew you had interest in clean energy for AU), under keys like: "Thorium remix" 2011 (or 2012), with more to come.)
I intend to take-up the matter of "written questions, in advance" with at least one of the ARC's, at which you spoke, ie, since letting others -read- their questions could insult some askers (Even the -thought- of that restriction was a big slap-in-the-face for me...)
(Regarding you being "more than happy to call," I do not
require a visit by any ACMA Radio Inspector, at this time.)
My main concerns about ACMA's performance - vis a vis
Amateur Radio in AU - are clear (but also not mentioned
in your eMail, for some reason), eg, in my other public &/or private communications.
In a nutshell, -some- of these include:
- excessive license fees (with unduly mislabeled elements,
possibly so-labeled to preclude fair negotiation, eg,
by WIA, for long overdue removal or reduction of same)
(This point was made very clear after we learned of the
Gov't's -halving- of License Fees of AU's Commercial TV
Broadcasters, at a cost (from memory) of $42 million!)
We have just seen the Gov't call the likes of Abobe,
Microsoft, etc. to account for vast differences in the
cost of their products - ie, in AU, compared to USA.
How much -more- should AU's Ham's feel overcharged
when our counterparts in USA & (I'm told) CA, from a
recent change,.. enjoy Zero-fee Ham licenses?
AU Hams deserve "World Best," & ACMA needs to
show it understands this & join the N Amer fee model.
AU needs more young people to become & stay inter-
ested in STEM (Sci,, Tech'y, Engineering & Maths), &
Amateur Radio is an effective way to facilitate interest
in STEM subjects... & later careers.
High License fees will dissuade some from exploring
- unduly insulting & costly (in $$'s & time) entry-path to
higher transmit power, via ACMA's arbitrary & undue
"trial" of max. higher power transmit limit, in AU (unlike
neighboring NZ's ACMA-counterpart, which seems to
have - by default - granted high transmit power pri-
vileges to all, whose licenses class(s) allows.).
I say: Let AU's Hams' voices be heard, like USA's & NZ's,
by default, without undue "trials" of unspecified duration
& "Pass" criteria.
ACMA would intervene in any case(s) of interference,
just as it would today. There should be no extra cost,
to licensees for the higher power privilege..
- undue, residual restrictions from AU's era of monopoly-
telco's; ACMA should now -allow- "auto-patch" = POTS
telephone-interconnect, in the Amateur service, as it
does for Outback Radio (eg, VKS737 network).
- undue -reductions- of AU's Amateur service frequency
allocations (eg, 10 MHz from the 70 cm band, etc.)
(I understand that not all of these issues would be "in your Job Description.")
In short, ACMA needs to show more innovative -vision-
about AU's Amateur Radio service, not more insults,
omissions of privilege & years of overpriced Licenses.
(If you happen to be a Ham, I would expect that you would "get" most of the above, at least, when not wearing your Radio Inspector "badge." :-)
I await a clear "Permission to Publish" for your eMail, so
I can share your corrections on the eHam forum soon.
Kindly reply via eMail, thanks.
73, Chuck VK5CQ, etc.
eHam Forums / Licensing / RE: AU: As Gov't Election approaches, ACMA (AU's "FCC") visits big HAM clubs
on: April 01, 2013, 04:39:39 PM
Relay of a CORRECTION from AHARS president
I have received a very brief note (by eMail)
advising that - if I understand it correctly -
all submitted questions were answered by
the ACMA rep.
(I intend to ask the sender for permission to
publish the exact words of that note, to in-
sure, that I've not misrepresented it, above.)
- - -
More on the issues with "written questions,
handed-in in advance" follows, in what be-
came my -reply- to that note:
Of course, they got answers; my concern, however, was that - unlike attendees at, eg, -very- well attended sessions of Adelaide's Ideas Festivals, attendees of at least two (2) of SA's Amateur Radio clubs were -denied- the chance to be heard -putting- their own questions, with their own voices & emphasizing their own words, as only they could have.
They -also- missed the chance to -practice- speaking up at larger-than-average sized meetings, and -individually- requesting their Gov't (regulators) to account & explain...
Would-be askers were unduly put - in advance - under a publicly-expressed "threat" - from an influential AHARS leader - made on-air, for all (members, non-members & even non-Hams) to hear - of being -ignored- by the group, so their question would -not- be heard or replied to (ie, if they were to attempt to put a question directly at the AHARS).
I consider that the utterance even called-for those hearing it to be party to preventing such an asker to be heard or acknowledged... for reasons unlear to me.
Most Hams are - by habit &/or nature - are (& quite enjoy being) good & able communicators, able to compact messages into a reasonable amount of time, when they must.
However, as I look around the world & compare the "value for money" of AU's Hams' actual Privileges vs Costs (incl -recent- loss of both respect & freq segments), I must conclude that we are -not- well-served by, eg, WIA, nor by - at any level - encouraging our fellow Hams to regularly & publicly display "sheepish" behaviours (queuing only to be heard, on-air, -thanking- relay-operators)...
...while being -discouraged- from using their own voices to ask their own questions of ACMA's representatives, ie, on those few occasions that they are available to ask, in person.
Better, in future (now that all opportunities have been wasted, in the -present- cycle of visits)...
...that SA Hams should - as I have myself done (eg, at an Ideas Festival session, attended by well over 150 others) should queue at a microphone for the chance to have one's own question be heard & answered, by putting it in one's own voice.
We - as a club - should take steps to -develop- our Members confidence to speak for themselves, ie, rather than their dependence on other to speak for them.
Only when we are -actively- calling for, eg, "Best Practice" from AU's unduly overpriced & underprivileged / under-respected, eg, on issues like:
1. License Fees (Did I hear correctly, that Canada has now joined USA in a providing Zero-cost Ham license?);
2. Raising our maximum transmit power limit to a "World Class" level (as our neighbors in NZ have recently come to enjoy) -without- costly & unduly embarassing need to apply - to ACMA - for "special leave" to participate in a special "trial period" (read: "training wheels"), of unspecified duration & without a hint of criteria for securing a "Pass" for permanent retention of this new (to Hams in AU) privilege.
Again, I say: Let our Hams' voices be heard!
...this time, with the help of higher power, at
least when conditions are less than optimal,
& the message -must- get through. :-)
I fully expect WIA to start developing & using the skills, eg, needed to more -effectively- "Push-Back" whenever ACMA seems to be "short-changing" AU's Hams:
1. in privileges (eg, remove the telco-monopoly [era] "inspired" -ban- on "auto-patches," ie, POTS phone-interconnects on repeaters in AU),
2. in respect (eg, an undue fee, application form & "trial" period requirement, for entry to the world's "high power club")
Of course, in light of AU's gov't -permanently- waiving AU$ 42 million of license fees, that AU's -Commercial- TV Broadcasters would, otherwise, have to pay -each- year...
I am confident, that WIA is -now- in a position to win -permanent- Zero-Fee licensing for AU's Hams, like Canada's Hams seem to be enjoying, not to mention USA's (albeit, reportedly paying a "small" fee for a 10-year license).
Or... ACMA could simply, if belatedly, repair all these
anomalies... on its own.
---- Sent from my .. mobile"
eHam Forums / Licensing / RE: AU: As Gov't Election approaches, ACMA (AU's "FCC") visits big HAM clubs
on: April 01, 2013, 12:14:49 PM
I am not aware of any "every 10 years" fee for US Ham licenses... can you tell me how much it is & maybe end a link to a site that spells out all the costs involved, thanks?
In a recent QST, I noticed reference to a $15 Exam Fee, ie, for any number of elements (like an "all-you-can-eat restaurant" this might be called an "all-you-think-you-can-pass" exam fee ;-)
While it's not, of course, the Gov't or ACMA who sets the Exam Fees, in AU, I consider them excessive. compared to the $15 "out-of-pocket-expenses" that seems to apply in USA. (Anyone know about Canada's EXAM fees?)
Having worked (eg, taught school &/or managed) in / for Aboriginal communites - off & on - over the years, I consider the high Amateur Radio license fees in AU -may- be (at least in part) intended to make it harder for many (if not most) Aboriginal folks, who live on remote communities (where HF radio works so well, sun cycle permitting), to be able to afford to become licensed Hams.
I guess a Community Radio club + the presence of a -licensed- Amateur operator could give some access, like I tried to do, when teaching in SA's Outback, almost a decade ago... when a young person hears the cost of getting & keeping alive a Ham license, it can turn even the biggest smile into a frown...
eHam Forums / Licensing / AU: As Gov't Election approaches, ACMA (AU's "FCC") visits big HAM clubs
on: March 26, 2013, 06:27:20 AM
We've been in Australia long enough to know
some of the indications, that a Commonwealth
(of Australia) Election is about to be called.
Eg, in October 2012 (ie, 4 or 5 months before
the Aussie Prime Minister called an Election
for Sep 14th, 2013)... the Gov't announced,
- -all- Australian -commercial- TV broadcasters
would have their License Fees -HALVED- per-
manently (annual cost of -millions- of AU $'s)
In a land where Hams pay over AU $63 / year
for their Amateur Radio Licenses, that halving
seemed like a -huge- slap in AU's Hams faces.
(Some months before, New Zealand's Hams
won the privilege of higher transmitter power,
like that, which US Hams have enjoyed for
yonks... from way before I were one, myself.
When "Australia's FCC" noticed such a -near-
neighbor displaying renewed faith in & support
for -its- [presumably higher-class] Amateurs,
AU's ACMA was surprisingly quick to act...
But the Aussie Hams were (as above) slapped
in the face by a new ACMA requirement, that
they Apply - in writing - AND pay a fee - just
over -half- the cost excessive cost of a year's
Ham license term - to -request- to be included
in a [time-limited] -trial- of permitting Aussie
Hams to use higher transmitter power....
In recent memory (ie, shortly after it was "tem-
porarily borrowed" for some weeks of -noisy-
car-racing, in the streets of several Australian
- Aussie Hams lost 10 MHz of their 70cm band;
by edict of ACMA, the 420 - 430 MHz segment
of our 70cm band was removed from the Aussie
Amateur Service - this time permanently.
("Let's start by -borrowing- that segment, and
see if the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA)
- ARRL's counterpart - pushes back," I guess.
From all I saw, WIA never really pushed-back,
not before the "loan" period nor when the loan
became a "theft."
This was a big mistake, pre-dating the insulting
"Beg & Pay" for high power, after all the higher-
class NZ Amateur Licensees got it cost-free.)
Very recently, we were told that ACMA was
sending "Mark" one of its radio inspectors
to speak at larger metropolitan Ham Clubs,
across South Australia; in fact, two (2) ACMA
radio inspectors were sent to make presenta-
tions (one underling, and a more senior one).
Before the on-site presentations, word went
around - in larger clubs & smaller ones - that
anyone wanting to ask a question, of ACMA's
radio inspectors, would have to submit them,
in advance, for presentation to the speaker.
Funny, isn't it? I could just line-up, at a very
well attended (250+ in a large church on the
Adelaide Uni campus) Ideas Festival, for a
chance to ask my question or put an alternate
opinion to a panel, at any of the cost-free talks.
But - in a smaller assembly of my fellow Radio
Club members - I would only have the chance
to hand in a card or send an eMail, presumably
to have my question scrutinized by Club Offi-
cers... only maybe to have it -read- (with -less-
passion than I would express on an issue) and,
in part, -mispronounced- by an such an officer.
Our voices would -not- be heard by Mark & Co.
Well, the radio inspectors brought an hour-long
PowerPoint presentation. Among other topics
was a "reading of the riot act" about [Chinese]
It seems, that ACMA is against radios that can
transmit -outside- Ham bands. So, while it may
still be fine for licensed Hams to own, restore &
operate -military- radios with that capability, a
more recent, affordable import [from China] is
a bird of another feather.
Why does ACMA have the $$'s to - on the one
hand - HALVE License Fees of -commercial- TV
stations AND to send pairs of Canberra bureau
crats around AU, to pressure Hams on trivia,
that we should be able to manage ourselves?
And - if there's so much $$ around - when can
Aussie Ham's expect to be advised that -our-
License Fees will be -permanently- halved, or
- following Canada's recent example - waived?
Why would WIA be so slow to decide to push-
back or present some arguments FOR cost-free
Ham licenses, with high power included, and
a much-overdue OK for phone-interconnects...
...& AGAINST a car-racing's ACMA-supported
"borrowing" / repossessing of 10 MHz of 70cm?
Now, South Australians have some highly skilled
Hams, and - with the influx of cashed-up folks,
from interstate, as prices elsewhere soared - the
composition of SA Hams has changed a bit.
Hopefully, our newcomers have brought some
much-needed "chutzpah" to bolster local sup-
plies, so we will push WIA to start thinking
afresh about such Ham-friendly changes.
Still, SA's near-ancient tradition of -queuing-
- after each week's WIA Broadcast - for up to
10 or 15 minutes - for the chance to (only):
check-in and thank the relay operator, on the
frequency, "for the Broadcast" continues; it
seems to be encouraged, eg, by WIA, whose
relay operators stay longer at their rigs and
desks - each week - to make a list of check-
ins' callsigns, "to hand up" to... whom? :-/
A much better use of those check-in trans-
missions might be to have "straw-poles" on
issues (& use lists of supporters' callsigns -
with their holders' permission - as signatories
of virtual petitions, to WIA, local gov't councils,
maybe even ACMA, itself...) to gather & focus
Radio Hams' opinions, rather than let them
waste time queuing for the chance to sheep-
ishly "thank" the WIA Relay Operator "for
(Local gov't councils have been too quick to
declare Ham antenna structures unlawful or
to deny applicants' applications for towers.)
An opportunity for grass-roots Democracy (or,
at least, a single-cycle round-table, even) lost,
at least until the next generation of Hams ar-
rives & tires of queuing-to-thank, I hope. ;-)
I wonder how it is that (in Australian history)
early CBers in AU "won" cost-free Class Licens-
ing, ie, by simply -refusing- (en masse) to pay
their generation's excessive [transmitter-]
...while Aussie Hams let their national repre-
sentative organisation - the WIA - "roll-over
& play dead," -rather- than pushing-back &
getting & keeping much more for AU's Ham
Radio community that it has today.
Can "training" generations of Hams (as in SA)
to queue-to-thank the week's WIA commitiee-
member "for the Broadcast" be reducing the
level of -chutzpah- in South Aussie Hams?
We've never had "phone interconnect" (a.k.a.
phone patching) privileges, like other radio
clubs enjoy; one such Club even features
its phone interconnection service, eg, on its
"VKS737: The Australian HF Radio &
Radio-Telephone Network" eg at:
(Two such clubs license - presumably on a
shared basis - the same HF channels, for
their respective members' use; sadly, last
I heard, inter-club member comms was for-
bidden, except, of course, in emergencies.)
There are many opportunities to IMPROVE
Ham Radio & some non-Ham radio clubs,
IMO. I think it's time to apply a fair-minded:
"Think Outside the Box" & "Fix Traditions"
...just like those, who use the Internet do.
"The -Only- Limitations are
the Ones you Take with You."
eHam Forums / Computers And Software / Why buy a Raspberry Pi when I have a perfectly good cellphone, MP3 player, etc.?
on: March 26, 2013, 04:08:55 AM
SlashDot.org has an "Ask SlashDot" post going, as I write this:
"Ask Slashdot: Why Buy a Raspberry Pi
When I Have a Perfectly Good Cellphone?"
It's here, with a growing number of coments:
Inside it was a short post that -extended- it just a bit:
"Why Ras.Pi ... I've a [RockBox-compat.] MP3 player
... on 2013.03.26 19:49 (#43279561)
Open Source "RockBox" ought to give folks a clue on
how to access the capabilities of a wide range of MP3-
players - from Apple iPod's to Sandisk Sansa Clip Zip's,
& lots more.
(Some have video functions, too, but I don't know how
much of these would be accessed / used by RockBox.)
Numerous model-specific user manuals & a 1st-class
web site make this Open Source project worthy of
emulation, as well as useful to -both- end-users and
experimenter / developers of innovative replacement
firmware for many models & various applications.
Have a look: http://www.rockbox.org/
--- Editorial note:
Computer geeks seem to love programming -so- much,
that they tend - in good ole' Open Source tradition -
to "give away" -both- the resulting applions -and- the
programs' Source Code, enabling others to "stand on
their shoulders" and see a little bit farther... & improve
their software, for our community.
I would encourage more Hams to do the same. :-)
eHam Forums / Elmers / RE: soldering iron recommendations
on: March 23, 2013, 06:19:51 PM
There was a "deal" posting recently on OzBargain.com.au showing a temperature-controlled soldering iron station for under Au$ 20, incl shipping (at least to AU).
(Ordering several brought the per-unit cost down to around Au$ 17.)
You can guess where these were made... & how long they might last... :-/
PS Only one (1) soldering tip was included, so I hope anyone who bought can source compatible tips at reasonable cost...
eHam Forums / Elmers / IC-7000: 2 mic's plugged-in at same time (back of radio + bottom of panel)?
on: March 23, 2013, 06:12:45 PM
So, the IC-7000 has 2 mic-jacks (per Subj).
Now, so does, eg, some VHF marine gear, allowing one
to reply to a call or make one from either of 2 places,
on a boat. (Here, both local & remote mics are normally
left connected at the same time.)
Of course, an IC-7000 can also be used on a boat, so
it can be asked whether - on an IC-7000 - BOTH of
its mic-jack's can have compatible mic's plugged-in,
or must one be unplugged - as might be OK in a car,
where the radio is under a seat or in the boot, rather
than in a remote operating position, as on a boat.
Q-1: Can -both- mic's be left connected to an IC-7000,
at the same time?
Q-2a: If so, must these 2 mic's be the -same- model?
Q-2b: What happens if the PTT's of -both- mic's are
pressed at the -same- time? (Eg, is it "first-pressed
wins the chance to be heard" or are both mic's heard,
How do you know? Have I missed something in ICOM's
manuals... or have you tried these experimentally? :-)
Thanks & 73,