23rd May 2016. WIA Reform Group – News Letter Number 7

Good morning,

Well, the Annual General Meeting is upon us.  The Board has failed to adhere to a number of Corporations Act requirements, as well as their own common practice of announcing the AGM formally in Amateur Radio Magazine.   And to top it off, WIA Director Roger Harrison glibly reported the following in the WIA News Broadcast on 22nd May 2016:

“This has been WIA Director Roger Harrison VK2ZRH for VK1WIA News – look out for me on the bands from Norfolk Island. I’ll be signing VK9NJ – Victor Kilo Number 9 Norfolk Junket”.

Mr. Harrison’s “Norfolk Junket” is set against the backdrop of yet another year of financial loss for our WIA, declining membership numbers (down 5%) and dissatisfaction from members.  Whilst some may consider this an attempt at humour, it is actually indicative of the contempt in which he holds members and his fellow Directors.

It is, without question, an inappropriate and unprofessional statement from a WIA Director.  Not one cent of your $95 should be directed to reimbursing a Director with such a flagrantly arrogant attitude.

Your WIA Board should insist that Mr. Harrison retracts his comment and makes a public apology to WIA members.  Is this the calibre of Director we have managing our WIA and our money?

Little wonder the WIA faces yet another financial loss this year…..

Will 2016 be another year of loss and reduced membership numbers?

Once again, and in summary, this is what the Directors achieved in 2015.

  • Income down almost $6,000
  • Expenses up a staggering $72,000
  • Interest received down $6,700
  • Cash in bank down almost $57,000
  • Reported Loss of $12,680

On a slightly more positive note, it appears the Board have been partially listening to your requests.  For those of you unable or unwilling to spend the required money to travel to Norfolk Island (those who aren’t on a “Norfolk Junket”) the WIA has created a page on their web site inviting members to ask questions.

The planning and publicity of this facility has been severely lacking; being established less than 2 weeks before the AGM and most certainly not announced in the Institute’s official magazine, Amateur Radio.  Not all members will get the opportunity to ask a question, but you will.  Follow this link and ask any questions you may have about the Annual Report.

http://www.wia.org.au/newsevents/news/2016/20160520-1/index.php

 

As many are aware, on the 7th May we launched a survey to investigate what you think about the licence structure here in Australia.  Almost 500 of you have responded.  We will publish the results after the AGM.

Word about the WIA Reform Group continues to spread.  Forward this email to your local club and friends.  Contact the National Office and Board Members calling for positive action.  Email us if you have questions or concerns.

We will have a presence at the AGM and we will be asking questions.  We’ll provide a balanced report of proceedings next week.

Phone the office this week asking for the Annual Report to be posted to you.  03 9729 0400

Stay up-to-date with news and progress; – visit  www.wiarg.org .

We’ll continue to challenge this Board and demand better results.

Until next week,

73

G.C. Dunstan VK4DU,   C. Chapman VK3QB,  R. Dollar VK8RD

Questions for the WIA board on the financial statements

The following letter was emailed this evening (16 May 2016).

 

 

President & Chairman

Board members

Secretary

Directors Elect

 

The Wireless Institute of Australia ABN 56 004 920 745

Unit 20, 11-13 Havelock Road

Bayswater, 3153

nationaloffice@wia.org.au; president@wia.org.au; secretary@wia.org.au

 

16th May 2016

Dear Sir/s,

We refer to the Financial Statements for the Year Ended 31 December 2015 which you published on the WIA website www.wia.org.au on Sunday 15th May 2016.

On the WIA News Broadcast of 15th May 2015, the President advised those who may have been listening of the following with regard to the upcoming Annual General Meeting on 28th May 2016:

“The Directors report and the Treasurers report are presented and discussed at the AGM, and questions on those two items are taken. There is no other special business and no motions were received by the due date.”

It is noted that the Board has at no time issued any formal notices via formal channels (letters to members or in Amateur Radio magazine) nor has it invited members to submit special business or motions.  The President’s announcement on the News Broadcast is, at best, misleading.

As the Board has failed to issue any form of notice advising members how to raise motions or questions prior to the AGM, we submit the following questions and respectfully request that the Board provide answers prior to, or at the AGM on 28th May 2016.  With reference to the Financial Statements:

  1. The President states on page 8, Item 12 “The WIA will have a trading loss of $12,680 (2014: Profit $9,482). The trading loss can be attributed to the exit payments of the two WIA staff members during 2015.” It is our opinion this statement is not entirely true or complete. In fact, an analysis of the report suggests that exit payments are not the major reason for the loss (as most staff exit costs were paid from provisions).  The losses stem from increased expenses (such as contractors, suppliers etc) against a reduced revenue.  Would the President please justify and expand on his statement in the Financial Report, Item 12?
  1. Cash position – cash is down $56,658 since 2014. Given the reported loss of $12,680, would you please provide an explanation?   Would you agree that if the WIA was to use cash accounting the loss would be much greater than the reported $12,680 in 2015?  Indeed, the numbers tell a very different story:

a. Receipts are $558,000; down $6,000 (page 14)

b. Payments & Expenses are $623,888; up $72,000 (13% increase)

c. Interest received $10,700; down $7,000

We contend the facts are that INCOME is DOWN and EXPENSES are UP.  Is this the reason for the loss?

  1. With regards to Related Party Transactions:

a. Note 17a. (p23) Directors costs – who was paid $10,530 and what services were provided?

b. Note 17b. (p23) Who was paid $40,196 and what services were provided?

  1. With regards to Provision Accounts (p15):

a. Decrease in Provisions ($44,127) – Please provide the details of these provisions.

  1. With regards to Note 8 (page 21).

a. Why is tax payable so low compared to 2014?

b. What is the related parties payment?

c. What is covered by Other? (why is the largest amount unspecified?)

  1. Income and costs relating to Canberra AGM. It is understood this should be break even (more or less).  Why is there a $3,700 loss?  (refer WIA Annual Events Guidelines)
  1. Queries relating to Expenses (page 26)

a. Postage up from $3,900 to $12,700. Why the huge increase (326%) in postage?

b. Can the Board confirm that the ACMA contract costs have been correctly tracked and reported?

c. Professional Expenses of $8,000. What was this for?

d. Awards and contest – from $977 to $5,500 (up 562%) – Please explain. What was $5,500 spent on?

  1. Accounts Receivables have gone from circa $8,000k in 2014 to circa $15,000 in 2015. Why the increase?  Have accounts been managed appropriately and professionally in the second half of 2015?
  1. There is a reported 5% decrease in WIA Membership. What plans does the Board have to arrest this result?

We also note, with concern, that the Auditor has not signed off on this report.  On this basis, we can only regard this report as informational, rather than a formal Financial Report.

Has the Auditor endorsed the WIA to publish an unsigned version of the report?

When was the report delivered to the Auditor?

When will the formal report (including the signed Auditors Report) be issued and available to members?

When queried by Chris Chapman about the possibility of those members unable to attend the AGM being able to raise questions, the President advised in an email on 15th May 2016 the following:

“We could take questions submitted in advance and handled at the AGM by the Chairman, though as we would need to make this available to all members, and as time is limited, there could be no guarantee that any particular question would be selected.”

We respectfully request that the President and Chairman retracts this advice as it is likely in contravention of Section 250S of the Corporations Act.  Further, we request written confirmation that all questions raised by members will be answered.

Will the Chairman advise how members not attending the AGM on Norfolk Island can raise questions?

In order to address this reasonable requirement, we suggest the Board uses its membership register to email all members (for whom an email address is provided) to provide them with a link to the Financial Report as well as making appropriate announcements on the WIA News Broadcast this Sunday 22nd May 2016.  The emails and announcement should also invite any financial member to submit questions for the AGM along with instructions on how to do so.

We look forward to your answers being provided clearly, completely and accurately at the AGM.

Sincerely,

C. Chapman VK3QB, G.C. Dunstan VK4DU R. Dollar VK8RD

WIA Members

Where does your $95 membership fee go?

WIA Membership – Where does your $95 go?

 

chart 

Surprisingly, AR Magazine is not the largest part of your annual subscription.  It represents about $35.18, or 37% of your $95.  Approximately 50% of that is for printing and distribution.

A majority of $47.20 (49.6%) – or a total of $170,000, goes to running the office (incl. employment costs).  What does the office do for you?

  • Houses the bookshop
  • Houses the QSL bureau
  • Houses a reception area (dead space?)
  • Houses the library and historical records including the historical QSL card collection
  • Board room (used how often?)
  • Provides office space for delivering ACMA contracted services (Exams & Callsign Recommendations)
  • Provides office space for the Executive Administrator
  • Provides office space for corporate records
  • Provides an office to conduct the business of the Institute
  • Houses the WIA computer server, printer and fax machine

Membership services including QSL Buro, International Representation and ACMA licences take $8.30, with the balance of $3.63 being for accounting and compliance costs and convention and director expenses.

What do Affiliated Clubs get?

Public Liability Insurance.  Is this cover that much better than privately sourced cover?

About 0.7% or 69c of your $95 ($2,500 pa) is directed back to affiliated clubs in the form of Club Grants.

 

Notes:

  1. All numbers are estimates and are based on 2014 Annual Report
  2. The ACMA Contract for Services (Examinations & Callsign Management) is delivered on a cost neutral basis. This analysis takes that into account based on the data available.
  3. Bookshop expenses are removed as the bookshop is self-funding and makes a profit – before labour and overhead costs are taken into account
  4. In 2014 the bookshop made a profit of approx. $28k, of which the Callbook and Foundation Licence Manual comprised $23k. Excluding these 2 profitable books, the bookshop would most likely make a loss due to labour and overhead costs.

 

 

13th May 2016. WIA Reform Group – News Letter Number 6

We continue to be concerned about the capability and professionalism of our Board.

We have received no response to our recent correspondence to the Board in relation to:

– Our request for the Annual Report and Formal Notification of the AGM
– Our request for the Board to introduce a Directors Register of Interests.
In the last 2 weeks we have published our assessment of the Board’s Submission to the ACMA as well as a members’ look at how well our WIA has been performing (“What have the Romans done for us?” ).

Your feedback and commentary of these documents has been both positive and helpful.

This Board continues to lose your money and there is no plan to turn the tide.

If you are a WIA member, do you wonder where your $95 goes each year? We have done an analysis, and will send you the report over the weekend and post it on our web site.

As many are aware, on the 7th May we launched a survey to investigate what you think about the licence structure here in Australia. Well over 400 of you have responded so far; an outstanding result. We will release the results next week.

Word about the WIA Reform Group continues to spread. Forward this email to your local club and friends. Contact the National Office and Board Members calling for positive action. Email us if you have questions or concerns.

The communication and transparency of this Board has become worse. There have been no Board Notes or updates to the President’s Blog on the WIA web site this year. Why is that?

We need your support to make our Board listen. It’s our WIA and all the trends (number of amateurs, finances, privileges) are in decline.

The AGM is just 2 weeks away and still members have not received formal notification of Business to be Conducted, nor the Annual Report; where are the Financial Reports?

This Board has had 4.5 months to close the books and write the reports. What are they hiding? Send an email to the President and Secretary asking for the Annual Report.

A template is provided at http://wiarg.org/call-to-action/

Phone the office this week asking for the Annual Report to be posted to you. 03 9729 0400

Stay up-to-date with news and progress; – visit www.wiarg.org

We’ll continue to challenge this Board and demand better results.
Until next week,

73
G.C. Dunstan VK4DU, C. Chapman VK3QB, R. Dollar VK8RD

Call to action!

We need your support to make our Board listen.

It’s our WIA and all the trends (number of amateurs, finances, privileges) are in decline.

The AGM is just 2 weeks away and still members have not received formal notification of Business to be Conducted, nor the Annual Report; where are the Financial Reports?

Phone the office asking for the Annual Report to be posted to you.

03 9729 0400

This Board has had 4.5 months to close the books and write the reports. What are they hiding? Send an email to the President and Secretary asking for the Annual Report.

Template email – please cut and paste this below and send to the WIA. Of course, feel free to add your own concerns.  The Board won’t listen if we don’t demand it.

 
nationaloffice@wia.org.au; president@wia.org.au; secretary@wia.org.au
Dear Secretary,
As a member I am concerned at the lack of communication and progress in relation to the upcoming AGM. The AGM Conference is less than 2 weeks away and we still have no formal notification of business to be conducted.

The Annual Report has not been published. Why the delay?

I request that the AGM be deferred until a later date, in order to give members adequate time to review the Annual Report and raise questions.

What process can members follow to raise questions and/or motions for consideration at the AGM given the statutory timeframe for notice has not been provided?

As a financial member of The Wireless Institute of Australia ABN 56 004 920 745 I formally request a written response to the above questions.
Regards,
[insert your name & callsign]

Where are the annual reports and the notice for the Annual General Meeting?

To:          WIA Secretary, David Williams

Cc:          Board Members

 

11th May 2016

Dear Mr Williams,

We write with reference to the upcoming Annual General Meeting.

The Board has failed to provide adequate notice to members of the 2016 Annual General Meeting in accordance with the Corporations Act.  In previous years, it has been practice to publish the formal notice of the AGM along with business to be conducted in the March issue of Amateur Radio Magazine.

Further to the above, the Board has failed to provide the Annual Report, financial reports, directors’ reports or the auditor’s report to members.  No instructions have been provided as to any specific motions for discussion or vote.

There has been no opportunity presented for members to raise motions for a vote.  It is unlikely that there would be adequate time for such a process to occur now, especially given the time for postal correspondence and proxy votes to be considered.

The Board has provided no tangible updates to members on these matters.

Would you please advise the status of the Annual Report?  If it is not yet ready for release would you please provide an explanation for the delay and an expected date that it will be provided to members for their inspection.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Chapman VK3QB, G.C. Dunstan VK4DU, R. Dollar VK8RD

WIA Members

10th May 2016. WIA Reform Group – News Letter Number 5

Good afternoon,

Last week was busy and we decided to hold off on our update to you.  In the lead-up to the AGM we’ve been working hard to get a balanced set of facts on the table.

We are still waiting on a response to our request for the Board to introduce a Directors Register of Interests.  To date no correspondence has been received.

An analysis of the WIA Submission to the ACMA was completed and distributed last week.  Thanks for your positive feedback on this document.  If you’ve not read our report yet, follow this link:

http://wiarg.org/assessment-of-wia-submission-to-the-acma/

 

We have also looked at the question raised by WIA President, Phil Wait when he asked “What have the Romans done for us?”   Only we looked at it from the members’ perspective with the facts to hand.  If you haven’t read it yet follow this link.

http://wiarg.org/what-have-the-romans-or-the-wia-done-for-us/

 

As a member you should be concerned about the lack of visible progress by your WIA.

On the 7th May we launched a survey to investigate what you think about the licence structure here in Australia.  We’ve been overwhelmed with responses.  Over 300 of you have responded so far; a fantastic result.  If you have not yet completed the survey please do so; and forward the link to your club and friends.  Your thoughts count.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourLicence

If you are a WIA member, do you wonder where your $95 goes each year?  Do you feel you’re getting value for money?  We’ve done the sums and will release a short summary in the next couple of days.

Word about the WIA Reform Group is spreading.  We are very pleased with the feedback and support we’ve been receiving.  Please continue to spread the word.  Forward this email to your local club and friends.  Contact the National Office and Board Members calling for positive action.

Stay up-to-date with news and progress; – visit  www.wiarg.org .

We’ll continue to challenge this Board and demand better results.  Please continue to email us with your feedback and ideas.

 

Until next week,

73

G.C. Dunstan VK4DU,  C. Chapman VK3QB,  R. Dollar VK8RD

 

We don’t want to spam you.  Send us an email if you’d prefer we remove you from our mailing list.

What have the Romans (or the WIA) done for us?

This is a question often asked in recent times. The WIA Reform Group decided to investigate this question from the members’ perspective.

 

Have the Romans (WIA) been managing the money and business successfully?

Year Profit/loss
2011 $4,727
2012 -$20,986
2013 -$10,835
2014 $9,482
2015 How Big?

A cumulative loss over 4 years of $17,612.

Members were informed in the President’s Comment column in the May issue of Amateur Radio magazine that 2015 will result in a loss as well. How big will the overall loss be once the 2015 loss is known?

With the current Board spending our money in record fashion how big will the loss be this year and then next year?   The current Board has spent more of our money in 2015 than ever before on propping up their decisions and now the WIA and the hobby are in a worse condition than when they started.

This Board has continually proven it is unable to manage member’s funds to return a solid profit.  A profit allows money to be directed into positive activities to promote, grow and protect our hobby.  A profit might mean that your fees don’t have to go up. A profit might mean clubs get more support.

Every reader will understand the need to keep spending in line with income.  You can’t spend more than you earn for an extended period without major problems.  The current Board doesn’t seem to realise this.

Spending other people’s money must be easy for them.  Tens of thousands paid to a director, thousands of dollars being paid to an accountant plus a trip to a Pacific Island for staff and Board members.  When will it stop?

In the last 12 months the Board has illustrated that it is incapable of managing the business or operating as a team. Serious allegations of conflict of interest have been raised. Since the middle of 2015, a Director, two Treasurers and one assistant Treasurer have resigned along with numerous committee volunteers. Ethical and professional concerns have been raised over the manner in which the Board has been managing our WIA.

Why do Treasurers keep resigning?  For the first time in the history of the National WIA (since 2004), the Board is paying a professional accountant to repair the Institute’s accounting system (MYOB) and act as Treasurer.

All this after paying a Director tens of thousands of dollars of OUR funds to manage the office for 7 months. How much is this costing members now?

Can this Board manage the WIA’s business? Can we afford to continue to allow them to?

 

Our hobby is in decline.

Year
Ending
June
Australian
Amateur Licenses
Growth vs.
Previous Yr
Notes
2015  
2014 14,040 -125
2013 14,165 -209
2012 14,374 -167
2011 14,541 -1085
2010 15,626 -194
2009 15,432 154
2008 15,278 269
2007 15,009 534 ACMA issued 1,155 amateur operator certificates of proficiency during the reporting year: 896 Foundation, 168 Standard and 91 Advanced certificates.
2006 14,475 434
2005 14,041 6 Sep 2005 – Foundation license created.
2004 14,047 -316 Jan 2004 – Amateurs w/o Morse endorsements gain full HF allocations.
2003 14,363 -173
2002 14,536 -481
2001 15,017 -643
2000 15,660 -4
1999 15,664 –533
1998 16,197 -536
1997 16,733  
  • Data from http://ah0a.org/Australia/VK-Stations.html

Our hobby is in slow decline as the numbers above illustrate. Unless positive actions are taken to reverse the trend, keep the hobbyists we have already and attract more people to the hobby, the future of Amateur Radio in Australia is uncertain.

Does the Board have a plan to arrest the decline? We haven’t seen one….

 

Member Services – what do you get?

  • QSL Bureau – serviced by volunteers. Has been running for years.
  • Library & historical QSL Card Collection
  • Email forwarding service (yourcall@wia.org.au)
  • Amateur Radio Magazine
  • Award Certificates (DXCC Awards)
  • Book Shop (Member prices)

 

Public Services (no need to be a member)

  • Examination Services
  • Callsign Management & Recommendations
  • WIA Bookshop
  • ACMA licencing for repeaters
  • Amateur Radio Magazine (available in Newsagents)
  • News Broadcasts
  • Contests & Awards

 

No Improvements to Privileges for Members.

In spite of Board and committee members attending numerous conferences both domestically and internationally, and lobbying the ACMA a number of times, Australian amateurs have received no improvements in privileges in recent years directly through the efforts of the WIA.

The last material change to privileges was the introduction of the Foundation Licence in 2005. Despite the spin from the Board, their efforts have proven to be totally ineffective.

Separate to this, many will recall the 1 kW trial in 2012/2013 which was unsuccessful. Here we are in 2016 and the Board has recently (April 2016) delivered yet another submission to the ACMA. This submission is fundamentally the same as one presented two years ago without result. Read about it here.

 

Benefits for WIA Affiliated Clubs

What benefits do some WIA affiliated clubs enjoy?

  • Shared public liability insurance scheme
  • WIA Clubs Grants Scheme: In 2014 $2,500 (just 0.5% of WIA’s turnover) was donated to affiliated clubs through the Clubs Grants scheme.
  • In 2013, $0, in 2012 $4,993 and in 2011 $10,015.

Compare these woeful efforts to support the hobby by the WIA board with those of ARNSW who have been pictured in Amateur Radio handing over generous cheques worth thousands of dollars to clubs all over VK2 in the last year or so.

 

The facts in this paper have all been obtained from publically available sources.

 

How is our Board performing?

You be the judge.

Assessment of WIA submission to the ACMA

Dear fellow amateurs,

Why do people join the WIA?  What is the core function of our institute?

Of course, it is to represent our interests to the regulator, the ACMA.

The WIA board recently made a submission to the ACMA on revised licence conditions for the Australian amateur service.

It may be found here:

http://www.wia.org.au/newsevents/news/2016/20160430-1/index.php

We have analysed this submission.  Our analysis may be found below.

We would welcome your feedback using the contact form on our website.

Unlike the current board, we believe strongly in consultation, particularly on such a fundamental issue as licence conditions.

To this end, we will be publishing another electronic survey in a few days to elicit your views on the structure of our hobby.

We will advise when this is ready.

73

WIA RG

 

 

An assessment of the April 2016 WIA board submission to the ACMA

The purpose of this short paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of the April 2016 submission from the WIA board to the ACMA proposing changes to amateur licence conditions.

Readers should note the WIA Reform Group does not, under any circumstances, wish to impede access to new bands, power and modes for the amateur service.

However, we will only achieve extra privileges or new licence conditions if our reasons are sound and logically presented.

Any new conditions must also be supported by a majority of amateurs. This Board appears to have conducted little or no consultation with the membership with regard to the recent submission.

Summary

As our representative body, we reasonably expect the WIA to prepare proactive and professionally researched submissions to the Government Regulator, ACMA.  We expect updates on previous submissions and consultation with the membership.

The following key points are provided as a summary of our analysis of the recent WIA Submission to the ACMA.

  1. No timeframe or target dates are offered in the submission.
  2. Access to four new band allocations is proposed. Whilst we support this in principle, no justification or reasoning is offered.
  3. Immediate access to 60m (5 MHz) is proposed. This appears poorly researched as the band is already allocated to Government services and immediate access is almost certainly an unreasonable gambit.
  4. Data modes for Foundation Licensees. This is long overdue and we strongly support it.
  5. Extra Bands for Foundation Licence and Standard Licence. The WIA Reform Group is concerned that the WIA Board has not sought a mandate or any feedback from the membership for these proposed changes.  The proposal is a significant dilution of existing licence structures and undermines the original intent of the FL; that being an entry point to the hobby with a clear advancement path.
  6. 200W for standard. The justification offered for this increase in privileges is poorly structured at best.  No sound basis is offered and this proposal does little more than undermine the existing licence structures.
  7. Three letter callsign suffixes for FL. This is a long overdue proposal and our detailed response offers some further consideration.  The Board’s submission proposes little in terms of specific recommendations; a lost opportunity that illustrates a lack of leadership on the issue.
  8. An item not covered in the submission is transmit frequency coverage of HF transceivers used by amateurs. This is a contentious issue that needs resolution.

Overall, it is positive that the WIA Board has made a submission and have included some key elements that are well overdue.

However, the paper is unnecessarily verbose and is by no means a clearly understood document with well justified recommendations (many would regard the writing style as unnecessarily bureaucratic).

A lack of conversation and consultation with the membership reflects very poorly on the Board.

 

Detailed comments on the submission

Timeframe

The submission is an initial input to the ACMA.  A further meeting is proposed in August-September to progress the submission further.  However, a timeframe for implementation is unclear.

Access to new bands at 1.9, 3.5, 70 and 960 MHz

The introductory item for the review document mentions that

“WIA outlined its proposals to the ACMA for extending frequency access in existing bands at 1.8 and 3.5 MHz, seeking additional bands at 70 MHz and 920 MHz, acquiring primary status for 50-52 MHz and securing better access to UHF and microwave bands in the face of threats from spectrum demands of the mobile broadband telecommunications industry and the NBN”

There is a passing reference to this at section 4.1.  No specific proposals or justification is provided.

Immediate access to 60m

The submission proposes that amateurs be given immediate access to the 15 kHz wide 60m band (5351.5-5366.5 kHz), granted at the recent World Radio Conference.

Article 4.4 of the Radio Regulations is quoted in the submission – this Article allows access provided that harmful interference is not caused to existing users (our italics).

The submission then goes on to note that the band in question is “generally committed” with allocations throughout Australia.

Further, the submission states that:

In the first instance, the WIA seeks the retention of the current channels assigned for specific amateur use, for the time being, and to work with the ACMA and other stakeholders to achieve institution of the ITU allocation at the earliest opportunity, with conditions appropriate to the prevailing circumstances, and in keeping with the power limit conditions set out in the WRC-15 decision.

This paragraph is somewhat obtuse.  To clarify – it needs to be considered as two separate requests – “current channels assigned for specific amateur use” and general access to the 15 kHz band.

“current channels assigned for specific amateur use”

We assume that this refers to the two 5 MHz WICEN channels.

In 2006, at the request of then WIA Director Glenn Dunstan, VK4DU, WICEN was allocated two by 5 MHz land mobile voice channels.

However, the channels are shared with commercial fixed and mobile users and are subject to the condition that they are for “use in emergency situations by WICEN to provide emergency and safety communications” [1]

[1] ACMA assignment details for licences 141519/1 and 1141520/1

 

The channels are not assigned for “specific amateur use” as claimed in the WIA board submission.

Moreover, only one of these channels falls within the new 15 kHz band – 5355 kHz.  The other, 5102 kHz, is outside of the band.

General amateur access to the 60m band

Perusal of the ACMA database reveals that there are 65 Australian commercial assignments in the proposed 60m amateur band.  Most of these are Government and safety of life related – Federal police, Ambulance service, Fire and Rescue, Flying Doctor and State Emergency Service.

These assignments take up the entire 15 kHz – there is no space available.

As per the decision of the World Radio Conference, the band is not available for amateurs until 2017.  Even when it becomes available, amateurs are classified as a “Secondary service” to the Primary users – commercial Fixed and Mobile stations.

In accordance with the International Radio Regulations and the Australian Spectrum Plan, Secondary services are not allowed to cause harmful interference to Primary services.

Given the lack of any spare frequencies in the 15 kHz wide 60m band, and the type of Primary user (Government safety of life services), it is doubtful that Australian amateurs will have access to 60m for the foreseeable future – let alone early access as proposed in the WIA submission….

Alas, this is symptomatic of the WIA’s entirely unprofessional approach to the 5 MHz band.

Is it any wonder amateurs have such a poor reputation with industry, when the WIA advocates at the ITU for a band that is used heavily in Australia by Government safety of life services and also for major Australian Government-funded health radio networks in PNG and the Solomon Islands?

The PNG and Solomon Islands networks cost around 25M to install, and have 2000 stations.

Surely, the sensible thing to do was to engage with industry, to see if there was a segment that could be used, rather than just hoping for the best at the ITU….

Consultation obviously does not figure highly on this board’s agenda….

Data modes and increased power for the Foundation Licence (FL)

Data modes for the FL are long overdue.

The FL syllabus needs to include the practicalities of digital mode operation – interconnection of radios/modems and the vital importance of proper modulation level control.

In keeping with the ethos of the FL, only commercially manufactured digital mode interfaces should be used.

Extra bands for Foundation and Standard class

The submission notes that some overseas administrations have granted their entry and middle level licences more bands than our Foundation and Standard class.

There is no specific request or recommendation as to which extra bands should be granted.

This “they have it, so we should” argument is flimsy at best.  Government regulators require proper, evidence based reasoning before they would consider any change to licence conditions.

From a practical perspective, there is nothing new to be achieved by looking at overseas equivalencies, as this has all been done before.

For example, the UK FL provides access to all HF bands, 6m, 4m, 2m, 70cm and 3cm.  It was introduced three years before its Australian counterpart.

The UK FL model was considered in detail by the then WIA Federal Council when the Australian FL was being developed.

The view was that the FL is intended to be an entry level qualification, and the selection of bands for the Australian FL gives a good sample of what AR has to offer.

There is a well-defined path for those who wish to aspire to more privileges.

We have seen no compelling evidence to change this view.

What the WIA board are proposing, in effect, is to undermine the current tiered licencing structure by seriously diluting the incentive to upgrade from the FL and Standard classes….

This is a major policy shift for the amateur service in Australia. 

The WIA RG notes that there has been no consultation with WIA members, or indeed the general Australian amateur population, on these changes.  They were simply presented to the ACMA by the WIA board as a fait accompli.

Does the WIA board have a mandate to go to ACMA proposing a major restructure of the amateur radio service without any consultation?

We would argue that they unequivocally do not.

200 watts for Standard class

The submission argues for a doubling in power output for Standard licences to 200 watts.  There is no reasoned justification to support this claim.

The reasons are, frankly, baseless.  Again, the “others have it, so why can’t we” argument is rolled out…..

As for as the argument that “there are 200W commercial transceivers available” – this is entirely unjustifiable from a regulatory perspective.

There are 3 kW amplifiers commercially available in Australia – using the WIA board’s logic, Advanced Class amateurs should be permitted 3 kW…..

Three letter suffixes for FL callsigns

FLs clearly need three letter suffix callsigns, for the reasons quoted in the submission.

Surely it would be logical to suggest some ideas for a callsign restructure, rather than just demand it be done…..?

The entire Australian Amateur Radio callsign structure should be reviewed.

Why, for argument’s sake, are AX and VI reserved for specific occasions? Two whole blocks sitting idle for 99% of the year…

The old argument that certain blocks were set aside for commercial services is becoming less valid these days.  Most commercial services do not use formal ACMA-issued callsigns over the air now, and the ones that do (maritime and aviation, in the main) use a different structure to amateurs.

Why not translate the current VKxFxxx template to a VI prefix with a three letter suffix?

VK2FABC could become VI2ABC.

This issue is further addressed at section 5.4 of the submission, but, again, no examples are provided to stimulate discussion.

Transmit frequency coverage of HF transceivers – not addressed in the submission

There are unresolved issues around permitted transmit frequency coverage of amateur HF transceivers – there appears to be no official, published interpretation by ACMA.  This needs to be addressed by the WIA.

Most modern HF amateur transceivers are capable of transmitting outside of our HF allocations – 1.8-2 MHz, 3.7-4 MHz, for example.

Therefore, surely it is the responsibility of amateurs, as technically qualified practitioners, to ensure that they transmit in their licenced bands, regardless of the transmitter’s frequency coverage?

This always has been an issue of operate, rather than possess.

Permitted bandwidths and higher power for Advanced licences

Whilst we certainly support relaxation of permitted bandwidths for Advanced licences, this may be difficult to achieve below 28 MHz, as it would seriously impact on existing band usage.

High power for Advanced licences is supported, provided a meaningful EMR/C regime acceptable to ACMA can be implemented.

 

WIA RG

May 2016