Soon after I arrived in AU, WIA (SA+NT Division) was involved
in a large event supporting Kids with Cancer; Hams would help
the kids (across ~a week) build small Electronic Kits & Get On-
Air (HF & talking to a Cosmonaut on the MIR Space Station).
It went well, & my report on the same is in WIA's AR Jounal of
One thing lead to another, & I was appointed (not elected) to
that WIA Division's Committee.
While serving, our (then) Treasurer (& State Govt employee,
in SA Dept of Educ) - quite unbeknownst to me - embezzled
a large (for WIA's size) sum of money, ie, instead of duly in-
vesting it on be half of (& in the name of) the WIA Division.
After completing my time on the Committee, I was invited to
attend a WIA AGM, which I was happy to do, only to hear the
story of the embezzlement & what steps had been taken to
get the money back, including lost interest, etc.
The perpetrator & (former) Treasurer, took his own Life(!),
but WIA plodded along, as it had for some years.
WIA (now a Nat'l Organisation, like its N Amer counterpart:
ARRL) seems to have faced a challenge to its reputation,
Not unlike the one that it's (former) Division had to face,
at the above-cited AGM.
Here's a very small except from WIA's President's Blog:
"November 2016 - The WIA through the looking glass
As you know, the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA)
is governed by seven elected members who work together
as Directors on a Board that meets each month by tele-
Recently, the Board has been subjected to numerous
assertions and allegations by those who seem to want
to take the Institute in a different direction, and
a lot of misinformation has been published in the process.
The matter came to a head at an extra meeting of
WIA Directors in September, where a motion was put
by Directors Andrew Smith VK6AS & Paul Simmonds VK5PAS
requiring an external audit of the WIA finances,
accounting procedures and operations, for the 3 years
2014-2016. The audit would be performed by a reg'd auditor."
Again, I have no knowledge of what (if anything)
may have happened in today's WIA, but this Peak Body
has not had very good luck with its Finances, in at
least two (2) cases made known to me.
WIA has IMO always seemed to act "aloof" & insensitive
to AU's Amateurs' feelings, eg, about "inequitable" fees
(compared to our peers, in the World) & even High Power
transmit as a License Condition; at least WIA could not
bring itself to use the power of AU's Media to push its
case, as so many other groups & organisations seem to do.
Perhaps WIA could not achieve the same level of coopera-
tive relationship with AU's regulator that, eg, NZRT had.
The Kiwis' Peak Body seems to have achieved High Power
Transmit - quite informally, according to reports - over
a lunch meeting between its President and a senior offi-
cial of NZ's regulator.
Now, don't you think that such cooperative "soft power"
would be better than WIA's hand-in-hat, subservient re-
lationship that it to have with " @TheACMA " (as AU's
regulator has chosen for it Twitter name)?
TheACMA hasn't had much luck, recently, implementing or
fixing a new Licensing computer system, offering only
apologies (but certainly no genuine concessions, eg, on
License Fees or Transmit Power limits for AU's Hams).
But let's get back to WIA (Div'l & Nat'l) Financial
issues. A bit further back in time, WIA said it didn't
have the $$ to continue to publish paper editions of
its monthly jounal "Amateur Radio" & it asked members
to consider electronic editions, to help keep it afloat.
Members said No, and - soon after - WIA found money to
reward (was it vollie operators of Beacon trasnmitters?)
Well, let's move on to POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS...
ARRL seems to be doing quite well for itself, despite
the creach of 2008-2009... They continue to publish &
sell lots of books (under its own good name & for RSGB),
it's giving grants to [would-be] uni students, helping
Hams find Legal Advice (eg, to help them build or keep
their antenna tower(s) in the air) with Volunteer Law-
yers, as well as serving their members & the larger
Amateur community as effective Lobbyists.
Now, WIA & its Clubs "Cry Wolf" when License Fee eqity
(w/ Costfree Licenses in CA,NZ,UK,US & even Sweden!
...while AU's Ham's pay upwards of AU$ 100 per Year
to stay in the game).
When "TheACMA" sent AU's Hams an -extra- letter, ad-
vising how to Cancel their Amateur License' ie BEFORE
sending them the usual Renewal Notice, did WIA Scream?
I didn't hear them... :-/
Oh, Yes... On to POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS.
1. I consider it ARRL's good fortune, that their home
is in Newington, CT (Pop. under 31,000 :Google)
Small Towns may actually encourage those "small town"
feelings of pride & honesty that can preclude "fishy"
dealings (as in Adelaide, 1992) & even the suspicion
of "rorting" the system (as in Melbourne, 2016) for
WIA (large or small).
Maybe it's time to move WIA to a place like Mt Barker,
SA or (name your little towns, that time forgot, here)
where we;d expect people to be honest enough to be
2. Learn from Linux organisations. Since they all have
connected computers they run their organisations OPEN-
LY. Members get to see expenditures, minutes, etc.
They have their issues & differences of opinion with
Gov'ts, too, but they also know how to use, eg, Social
(& online) Media to put their points & argue for them.
WIA's got a LOT to learn from Internet-based organisa-
tions, how to publish events, so that Hams travelling
through a place (large of small) can find out What's-
On in an instant. Hams elsewhere use cost-free tools,
but I've yet to learn of a WIA event via the likes of
EventBrite. (Hams have all the gear & bandwidth tp
get the work out by voice &/or data, but WIA doesn't
encourage use of such modes... prefering CENTRALISED
media, eg, the WIA web site... but even that has No
comprehensive Net Directory; only a few select Nets
are mentioned on its site, in my experience).
Why won't WIA encouarge preparation of High Quality
Intro's to Ham Radio in AU, & get its best speakers
out & about - at least via YouTube videos, but also
in personal appearances, at a range of venues, from
schools to social clubs, First Nation communities,
sports groups (for our Radio Sport), etc.?
WIA seems to be in a constant state of urgency to
pushback those who expect it to get our AU Hams the
same conditions/benefits for the same Zero cost, eg,
with LifeTime Ham Licenses (so we'd also be able to
save "The ACMA" $$, rather than today's "No Great
Saving for Paying Long in-advance" ie "Make Work
for those in/near Canberran" Licensing scheme).
WIA's "Oh, TheACMA will shutdown AU's Ham Radio
allocations OVERNIGHT, ie, it we pushed-back" isn't
There are plenty of Cost-Free activities, where
neither the apparatus or the (eg, water) it uses
are "taxed", & Radio Hams -know- how ARBITRARY
& unnecessary AU's Ham Radio license fees are.
"It costs more to collect current fees than they
win from the exercise" is common wisdom.
Let's FactCheck that &, if it's so, WIA has
one more argument in its bag to help it WIN
"Fee Equity" for all Aussie Hams.
It WIA "won" "Fee Equity" for all of AU's Hams,
I bet more of them would join WIA. And, as WIA
Membership rose, WIA fees dropped, that might
help it grow, as well.
THIS IS A WORLD DRIVEN BY INTERNET REALITIES
(go ask your bank -when- it plans to embrace
BitCoin), so - if You're NOT Finding Effec-
tive Ways to REDUCE your Fees & Charges, WIA,
you're Competitiveness is DROPPING.
Don't let that happen! "We need you" ;-)
Here's your chance to add YOUR suggestions.
What Works for Your Group or Peak Body?
How might WIA adapt that idea for it to work
for its Members?
Let us know, here... & got tell WIA, too! :-)