WIA board in denial as amateur numbers decrease…

 

WIA Director Roger Harrison reported in the WIA News broadcast last weekend: “From ACMA records at 1 June 2016, the total number of individual amateur licensees in 2015 reached 14,144, which is up from 14,035 for 2014…..  It might be a gain of “only” 109 licensees, but it’s heading in the right direction.”

The WIA Directors Report of 2015 shows a different story.  Their own report shows that numbers of Australian Amateurs were down from 14,040 to 14,011, 2014-15.

 

numbers

 

 

The trend continues in 2016 – from the ACMA database – as at 1 June this year, numbers are down to 13,931.

The numbers are in decline – there is no point denying it.  Any common sense review of our hobby’s demographic would suggest that if we (and our WIA) don’t start thinking differently about the hobby we’ll see a continuing decline in radio amateurs in the coming years.

  • Amateur numbers are down (and we are an aging population – the decline will accelerate)
  • WIA member numbers are down
  • WIA continues to lose money

Unlike the WIA Board, the Reform Group welcomes ideas on how to arrest the decline in our numbers…

Tell us your ideas and together we might save this great hobby.

Send your suggestions to feedback@wiarg.org

12th August 2016. WIA Reform Group – News Letter Number 15

Vale ACMA liaison?

Hello again,

We have said it before, and we will say it again:  one of the main reasons people join the WIA is to be represented to the regulator, the ACMA.

Well, our Board have been asleep at the wheel as far as representational issues are concerned.

Let’s look at some recent history.  With considerable fanfare, the current Board sent their wish-list for LCD changes to the ACMA in 2015.

Was there any consultation with members?  No.  Any results for the average Amateur?  No.

A more detailed Board submission was presented to the ACMA earlier this year.  Consultation?  Of course not…..

It takes a really special kind of hubris, an amazingly deep seated arrogance, to make such a sweeping submission on behalf of all Radio Amateurs without consulting the members at all….let alone the other two thirds of Australian Radio Amateurs who don’t belong to the WIA…..

As readers will recall, the WIA RG undertook an analysis of the last WIA Board submission to the ACMA.  This can be found at   http://wiarg.org/assessment-of-wia-submission-to-the-acma/

Clearly, any submission to the ACMA on amateur radio licencing conditions must reflect the views of amateur radio operators.

Unlike the WIA Board, we believe in consultation.  To that end, we undertook an electronic survey on licencing (read about it here: http://wiarg.org/licence-conditions-survey-results-june-2016/).

There were a number of outcomes from the survey, summarised as follows:

  • no change in the current band allocations/privileges for the Foundation and Standard licence grades;
  • no change to the number of licence grades – i.e. the three existing grades to remain;
  • Foundation Licence holders to be granted data modes, subject to modification of the training syllabus;
  • revision of the Advanced syllabus to include modern modes such as PSK31, JT65, digital voice, etc; and
  • support for a separate training module on electromagnetic radiation safety for Advanced licencees.

 

Fast forward to the latest submission from the WIA to the ACMA, which was yet another vague, unjustified ambit claim…this time for 500 kHz at 70 MHz…..

Whilst we welcome new amateur bands, there are far more pressing issues that need to be considered for the benefit of all VK amateurs:

  • excessive delays in licencing of amateur repeaters;
  • problems with licence renewals;
  • clarification on permitted transmitter frequency coverage for amateurs;
  • data modes for Foundation Licencees;
  • revision of the current Foundation callsign template to allow for three letter suffix callsigns; and
  • methods of streamlining the examination and licencing system through the use of online technologies.

Are these issues being considered by our Board?  Why did the Board deliberately exclude members and non-members from the process?  Or are they too busy fighting among themselves over which one of them decides what’s best for all of us?

On behalf of all VK radio amateurs, we have asked the Board to clarify their priorities.

Maybe you should ask them too…..

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

Every week we get emails of support and we’ll continue to call this Board to account as well as making positive, consultative contributions to the future of the hobby.

However, there are still many people who are unaware of the WIA Reform Group.

Forward this email to your local club and friends.  Take a copy when you meet local amateurs for a coffee.  If they contact Feedback@wiarg.org we can send them a newsletter direct.

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

We’ll continue to challenge this Board and demand better results.  A strong WIA is critical to protect our hobby.  We encourage every radio amateur in Australia to be a member.

Until next week,

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

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

 

5th August 2016. WIA Reform Group – News Letter Number 14

WIA President refuses to issue mid-year P&L Statement – what is he hiding?

WIA without Treasurer again – 4th Treasurer in 12 months.

 

Hello everyone,

We recently wrote to the WIA President, Mr Phil Wait, regarding the lack of a Treasurer and a P & L statement.  He has confirmed our suspicions.

The WIA is, again, operating without a Treasurer.  That’s four Treasurers in 12 months.  This probably explains in part why the President refuses to release a Profit & Loss Statement for the 6 months to June 2016.  The Board simply doesn’t know the WIA’s financial position.

Mr Wait advises that he will “discuss the WIA’s interim financial position in his President’s column in the September issue of Amateur Radio Magazine”.  Members should standby for yet further meaningless platitudes and poorly defined “back of the envelope” best guesses….

Why won’t Mr Wait share the P&L Statement?  The only reasonable answer is that the Board is unable to produce one.

How can the WIA operate without a Treasurer?

Just how much of OUR money is this Board burning; will it be like last year when they depleted our bank balance to the tune of $1,096 per week?

We don’t know.  And it appears the Board doesn’t either….

What should also alarm members is that this Board is not properly managing the contract with the ACMA for examination services.  This was highlighted at the AGM and to date, the President has not provided an explanation as to the cause of the financial discrepancies we highlighted.

We can only assume that Paul Simmonds and Andrew Smith are continuing to push for the required reform to bring about much needed change.  We support their call for financial transparency and call on all members to demand the same.

If you are as concerned as we are please contact the President, Phil Wait on 0418 161 733 or send him an email philwait@bigpond.net.au.  Demand the following:

Please support Andrew Smith and Paul Simmonds to bring about the required changes.  We demand you release a mid-year P&L Statement to members in the September issue of Amateur Radio Magazine.  We also demand you issue a statement advising that the Deed between WIA and ACMA is being managed in accordance with the terms and conditions of that contract.

Please ensure you copy in Andrew Smith VK6AS (Acsmith1954@gmail.com.com) and Paul Simmonds VK5PAS (Simmopa@iprimus.com.au) on the email.  Copy in the National Office as well at nationaloffice@wia.org.au.

These two Directors believe in transparent and open financial reporting to all members, unlike other board members, it seems….

We will continue to support Andrew and Paul as they continue to fight against arrogance and incompetence.  However, they are in a clear minority on the Board.  This means that every initiative they try to implement will be thwarted or undermined by the incumbent board members.

As noted last week, we hope that, with their influence, the conflict, incompetence and arrogance which was the hallmark of the Board during the latter part of 2015 and continues into 2016 will change for the good of the membership and the hobby.

If you have already written to the President, please do so again. Only by repeating our call for change will this board listen.  We will continue lobbying for change.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

Every week we get emails of support and we’ll continue to call this Board to account as well as making positive, consultative contributions to the future of the hobby. However, there are still many people who are unaware of the WIA Reform Group.

Forward this email to your local club and friends.  Take a copy when you meet local amateurs for a coffee.  If they contact Feedback@wiarg.org we can send them a newsletter direct.

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

We’ll continue to challenge this Board and demand better results. A strong WIA is critical to protect our hobby. We encourage every radio amateur in Australia to be a member.

Until next week,

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

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

1st August 2016. WIA Reform Group – News Letter Number 13

Hello everyone,

We’re really pleased to learn that Ron Bertrand VK2DQ has published a new book, called  “Radio Theory Handbook. Beginner to Advanced”.  Most people in the hobby will have heard of Ron who has been training licensees, new and old alike, for decades and continues to promote the VK hobby far and wide.

At over 560 pages, it is a whole lot of content, and certainly looks to be good value when compared to similar products in the market place.  Quite a few people have advised us that they’ve already purchased the book from Amazon.com for about AUD$55 (delivered in VK). We have already asked the WIA to stock this book.  Once it arrives we’ll provide a quick review.

Many amateurs will remember the passing of the late Harry Anderson VK8HA and his subsequent enormous bequest that resulted in the purchase by the WIA of the Bayswater (Vic) national office. Use of that valuable asset as a parking place for Director’s cars and QSL card storage probably isn’t what was envisaged in the bequest.  The undeniable fact is that this Board is not managing that asset, or any other, in the best interests of the WIA and its members.

Remember, the WIA has assets in the order of $780k, annual revenues of around $500k and yet it still makes a loss….

Here we are at the beginning of August 2016 and still no Financial Report from the WIA.  It really does appear that the Board still has no control of our money or hobby.  The current Board has been on notice to pick up their act for 8 months and have done nothing.

According to the website, The WIA still has no Treasurer and still has no financial reporting. What is going on? Why are the Board not asking for volunteers?

If you are as concerned as we are, please contact the President, Phil Wait on 0418 161 733 or send him an email philwait@bigpond.net.au.  Ask him the following very straight-forward questions:

Please provide members with a P&L Statement and Balance Sheet for the first 6 months of 2016, in order to illustrate you have control over our finances.  Who is the Treasurer and does he/she have the necessary experience and credentials to manage the financial business of the WIA? Can the President assure all members that this Treasurer will be allowed to do their job by the board, unlike the previous 4 who have all departed the WIA over the past 12 months.  What actions are the Board taking to ensure some stability and continuity for the new Treasurer?

It’s your money the Board are charged with managing and they are doing a pretty poor job of it. Please ensure you copy in Andrew Smith VK6AS (Acsmith1954@gmail.com) and Paul Simmonds VK5PAS (Simmopa@iprimus.com.au) on the email.

These two Directors believe in transparent and open financial reporting to all members, unlike other board members, it seems….

We will continue to support Andrew and Paul as we share common values. However, they are in a clear minority on the Board.  This means that every initiative they try to implement will be thwarted or undermined by the incumbent board members.

We are hopeful that one or two board members may break ranks and support Andrew and Paul in their genuine efforts to bring about much needed reform.

As noted last week, we hope that, with their influence, the conflict, incompetence and arrogance which was the hallmark of the Board during the latter part of 2015 and continues into 2016 will change for the good of the membership and the hobby.

As in previous weeks, we ask that you please show your support by doing these three things:

  1. Contact Andrew and Paul to let them know they have your support;
  2. Phone the President, Phil Wait on 0418 161 733 and send him an email philwait@bigpond.net.au and ask that he supports Andrew and Paul and provides answers to the questions raised above;
  3. Visit our web site wiarg.org – and drop us an email asking to be put on our email list for weekly updates.

If you have already written to the President, please do so again. Only by repeating our call for change will this board listen.  We will continue lobbying for change.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

Every week we get emails of support and we’ll continue to call this Board to account as well as making positive, consultative contributions to the future of the hobby.  However, there are still many people who are unaware of the WIA Reform Group.

Forward this email to your local club and friends.  Take a copy when you meet local amateurs for a coffee.  If they contact feedback@wia.org we can send them a newsletter direct.

Please continue to contact the National Office and Board Members and ask for your questions to be answered.  Ask them to publish a budget for 2016 and issue monthly P&L statements.

It only takes the push of a button in the MYOB package by the Treasurer (if we have one…).  No effort or cost at all.  Then we can all be informed.

Is the WIA going to make another loss in 2016?

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

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

A strong WIA is critical to protect our hobby. We encourage every radio amateur in Australia to be a member.

Until next week,

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

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

21st July 2016. WIA Reform Group – News Letter Number 12

Hello everyone,

We’ve a fair bit to report this week, so the newsletter is a little longer than normal. Since last week we’ve received a response from the WIA to our questions about the Financial Report and the Annual General Meeting.

You will recall we wrote to the board following the Annual General Meeting and their appalling lack of details with relation to many of the questions we asked. We highlighted a multitude of errors, which, on their own, may not sound too alarming, but when considered in totality lead to one simple conclusion:

 This board is exposing the WIA to unnecessary financial risk, particularly in relation to its agreement with the ACMA (Exam and Callsign Management Services).

Unsurprisingly, the Board accepted no responsibility for their errors and oversights. The one big take-away from this exercise is that the Board had no idea of these errors and would have continued on unwittingly had we not brought them to their attention.

Since Trainsafe took over the operation of the WIA National Office it seems that a multitude of business processes have failed. The Board has taken no effort to identify or remedy those issues even though a number of people have warned them. As equally concerning is that all Directors approved the Financial Report. Asleep at the wheel.

The watery answers confirm our suspicions that this Board has no real control over the financial management of WIA funds. The Board advised that it was not aware of any additional “misallocations”. Given they were unaware of the “misallocations”, (let’s call them what they are, financial reporting failures) we pointed out, we are not surprised that they remain unaware of additional problems. All this is following a statement from the President in February that the Institute’s accounts were in good order. Asleep at the wheel.

The other point the President made in his response is that contractor expenses had increased as the WIA is now using paid staff to perform work previously performed by volunteers.

You can all draw your own conclusions from that, but it’s our informed viewpoint that this is a direct result of a breakdown between volunteers and the National Office and certain Board members over the past 12 months. And it’s no coincidence that Trainsafe was playing an influential role during this period. A number of volunteers have contacted us and confirmed our concerns about this matter.

WIA members should want to volunteer; they should be encouraged and nurtured by the board. Sadly, too often the opposite is true. If you know any volunteers (current or retired) ask them for an “off the record” chat about their experiences.

What is the WIA Treasurer and Board doing to assure members that they have financial control over our funds?

The WIA Website no longer informs members of the Treasurer’s name. Who is the WIA Treasurer and does that person have the required skills and knowledge to manage the business appropriately? Does this mean this Board will be on its 5th Treasurer in 12 months?

The President advised us that the WIA would be releasing its half-yearly financial position shortly and its plans for increasing income. We will inspect this statement closely, and we encourage you to do the same.

The WIA Reform Group has studied the financial statements in detail and has considered the ongoing issue of profitability in the broader context of our hobby. It is our view that the following initiatives should be structured into a strategic plan and implemented immediately:

  • Implement a proper financial management function, a part of which would be to review monthly P&L results to identify profit leakage, unnecessary expenditure and opportunities for efficiency improvement. The Board must understand that they can’t wait another year to learn they have lost another $60,000.
  • Perform a robust and professional review of office costs and requirements. A review of the “Where does your $95 go?” highlights this as representing about 50% of all costs.
  • Initiate a strategy to progressively move Amateur Radio Magazine to a true digital magazine format. This would create massive cost savings and increased opportunity for advertising revenue.
  • Develop and implement a plan to address falling amateur and membership numbers; Every 100 new members represents about $10,000 in additional revenue.

The above points require an entirely new way of thinking about WIA’s business model. The incumbent board members (excluding the newer members) are clearly out-of-date with their skills and business acumen.

They continue to run our Institute with a 1980’s mindset. It is our informed opinion that Trainsafe created a multitude of problems since its appointment in August 2015, and until the WIA distances itself completely from that company and its directors it will be very difficult to address these issues.

We will continue lobbying for change. We will continue to call for an end to the arrogant, incompetent culture that has beset the board of the WIA.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

Every week we get emails of support and we’ll continue to call this Board to account as well as making positive, consultative contributions to the future of the hobby. However, there are still many people who are unaware of the WIA Reform Group.

Forward this email to your local club and friends. Take a copy when you meet local amateurs for a coffee. If they contact Feedback@wiarg.org we can send them a newsletter direct.

Stay up-to-date with news and progress; – visit www.wiarg.org .
We’ll continue to challenge this Board and demand better results. A strong WIA is critical to protect our hobby. We encourage every radio amateur in Australia to be a member.

Until next week,
G.C. Dunstan VK4DU, C. Chapman VK3QB, R. Dollar VK8RD

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

8th July 2016. WIA Reform Group – News Letter Number 10

Hello everyone,

As advised in our last newsletter, we have written to the Board asking that they follow through by addressing unanswered questions at the AGM.  To date we have not even received acknowledgement of our letter, let alone any answers to the questions.

The President made a commitment to refer questions back to the Treasurer and we will keep asking until that commitment is honoured.

Last week we issued our report based on the “Your Licence Conditions survey” conducted earlier in the year.  Follow this link  if you’ve not seen it yet:   http://wiarg.org/licence-conditions-survey-results-june-2016/

 

Is Amateur Radio dying?

We don’t believe it needs to, however, data provided by ACMA shows an alarming trend.  Our numbers are decreasing by about 50 per month (600 per year).

That’s a 4.3% decline in the 6 months to July 2016.

Given the ageing demographic of the amateur radio population, we believe all amateurs should be alarmed.  If no proactive action is taken by all of us, this rate of decline is likely to accelerate.  Even it is remains steady at 4.3% we’ll have fewer than 10,000 radio amateurs in Australia by 2024.

graph

 

As The Wireless Institute of Australia appears to be doing very little to address this issue, we thought it would be in everyone’s interest if the WIA Reform Group developed a documented strategy to grow our hobby.

To assist us, and to ensure we capture every idea that has merit and substance, we invite all interested radio amateurs to submit ideas.  We will consolidate the ideas most likely to succeed and publish a Strategy Document.  We’ll ask the Editor of Amateur Radio Magazine to publish the document, and we’ll also provide it to the Board for their consideration.

Please get your submission to us by the end of July.  Your document must include the following sections:

The Idea

A summary of your idea (no more than one paragraph)

A Brief

Provide as much detail as you would like about your idea

Target audience

To whom would your idea be targeted

Method to market the idea

How would you suggest your idea be marketed to yield the best result?

Support required

What logistical/technical/administrative support may be required to implement your idea?

Budget

If possible, provide some ideas of what your idea may cost to implement

 

We have a few ideas of our own, and we’ll get a final report together in August for release via the web, Amateur Radio Magazine and direct to the Board.

Every week we get emails of support and we’ll continue to call this Board to account as well as making positive, consultative contributions to the future of the hobby.  However, there are still many people who are unaware of the WIA Reform Group.

Forward this email to your local club and friends.  Take a copy when you meet local amateurs for a coffee. If they contact our feedback email email we can send them a newsletter direct.

Please continue to contact the National Office and Board Members and ask for your questions to be answered.  Ask them to publish a budget for 2016 and issue monthly P&L statements.

It only takes the push of a button in the MYOB package by the Treasurer.  No effort or cost at all.  Then we can all be informed.  Is WIA going to make another loss in 2016?

Email us if you have questions or concerns.

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

We’ll continue to challenge this Board and demand better results.  A strong WIA is critical to protect our hobby.  We encourage every radio amateur in Australia to be a member.

Until next week,

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

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

Licence conditions survey results June 2016

If there is one thing that we amateurs hold dear, it is licence conditions.

In April this year, the WIA board put a submission to the ACMA proposing a radical overhaul of amateur licence conditions.  Standard and Foundation class licencees were to be given access to many more bands.

As we pointed out in our analysis of the WIA board’s submission:

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.

 

It seems that no one bothered to ask the average amateur what they think….  So, we set about to change that.  In early May, we published an electronic survey on licence conditions, using the Survey Monkey platform.

We have received more than 600 responses to the survey.

These are detailed below.

 

Question 1 – are you a WIA member?

1

63.3% of respondents indicated that they were members, and 36.7% were not.

Question 2 – what is your licence grade

2

65.7% Advanced, 15.9% Standard and 18.4% Foundation.

This split generally represents the amateur demographic by licence grade.

Question 3 – how long have you been licenced?

3

35.7% have been licenced longer than 25 years, 37.8% between 5 and 25 years and 26.5% less than 5 years.

The majority of respondents are therefore experienced practitioners of amateur radio.

Question 4 – should FLs have access to data modes?

4

54.7% were in favour and 45.3 against.

A majority were in favour, but the margin is relatively close.  It seems that this issue is not as clear cut as many of us thought.

Question 5 – should FLs be able to build their own equipment

5

34.5% in favour, 65.3% against.

A clear majority feel that construction of equipment is outside the ethos of the FL.

Question 6 – should FLs have access to more bands

6

An overwhelming majority – 74.1% – feel that the current bands allocated to FLs are sufficient.

Question 7 – If you answered yes to 6, which bands?

7 

Although this question is rendered moot by the response to question 6, the majority felt that the FL should have access to all HF bands, 6m, 2m and 70cm.

Question 8 – should Standard Licencees have access to more bands

8

Again, a clear majority – 60.9% – felt that the current bands allocated to Standard licencees were sufficient.

Question 9 – if you answered yes to question 8, which bands?

9

Rendered moot again by the response to the previous question, but a majority wanted all bands.

Question 10 – do you support combining the Advanced and Standard licence, thereby reducing licence grades to two (Advanced and FL)?

10 

 An overwhelming majority – 71.5% – were against this option.

Question 11 – if you hold an Advanced licence, would you undertake a supplementary course in EMR safety to allow you to operate high power?

 11 

 A clear majority – 63% – were in favour.

Question 12  – If you hold an advanced licence, would you support changes to the licencing syllabus to bring it into line with the latest technical and safety advances in amateur radio, such as software defined radios, advanced digital modes and electromagnetic radiation safety?

12

There is unambiguous (88%) support for revision of the Advanced syllabus.

 

Conclusions

In the interests of transparency, we offer the following details regarding the survey method.  The WIA Reform Group used the Survey Monkey online survey tool.

The survey was made available online to all Australian amateurs with internet access.  We did not target specific interest groups.

Links to the survey were provided on our website, distributed to clubs and interested members via email and made available on various Facebook pages.  The only requirement was that respondents needed to have internet access.

http://help.surveymonkey.com/articles/en_US/kb/How-many-respondents-do-I-need

The above link should answer any questions you may have regarding the statistical outcome that resulted from this survey.

We used the following metrics:

  • Population size: 10,000 (probably too large given many amateurs are not active, and many don’t really care about the hobby enough to take an interest).
  • Margin of error: 5%
  • Confidence Level: 95%
  • Recommended sample size: 370 (actual number of respondents was 616; another 9 responses would have given us a 99% Confidence Level)

A clear majority of respondents support the current incentive based licencing system – i.e. band access is a function of technical knowledge, as demonstrated by examination.

The existing band allocations/privileges per licence grade and the number of grades are seen as appropriate – the majority feel that extra bands for the lower two grades and FLs being able to construct their own equipment would undermine the incentive based system.

This is clearly at odds with the WIA board’s submission to the ACMA.

One area where changes were supported was data modes for FLs.  This is a logical step and should be progressed without delay.  A slight modification to the FL syllabus is obviously required.

It is pleasing to see that Advanced licencees are very keen to upgrade their syllabus to include modern technologies.

Similarly, there is a recognition of the importance of EMR safety for high power operation.  A logical next step would be the development of an EMR safety module by the requisite specialists.

However, the survey results raise serious questions as to the legitimacy of the WIA board’s recent submission to the AMCA.  The WIA board have no right to propose sweeping changes to our licence conditions without any consultation.

The results of this survey prove that the WIA board’s submission to the ACMA does not represent the views of Australian amateur radio operators.

We therefore call on the WIA board to immediately withdraw their submission to the ACMA.

Yours sincerely

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

www.wiarg.org

 

 

25th June 2016. WIA Reform Group – News Letter Number 9

Hello everyone,

Since last week we have written to the WIA Board following up on commitments made by them at the AGM.  In particular, we have asked them to answer a number of outstanding questions, and to provide clarifications to other questions which received inadequate attention.

The President made a commitment to refer questions back to the Treasurer and we will keep asking until that commitment is honoured.

Unsurprisingly, the President made no mention of these matters in his report in the July issue of Amateur Radio Magazine.  Refer to last week’s newsletter for the AGM details.

We have asked the board to answer the questions openly and honestly, and then follow-up by publishing a budget and monthly P&L statements.  The two new directors indicated that they supported such an approach in the lead-up to the election.  There is no reason why the WIA Board should not share the financial status with members.

Three of the last five years have been financial losses – the WIA really is, at best, treading water financially.  We’ll say it again, there is $57,000 less cash in the bank at the end of 2015 than at the start. At the halfway mark for the year, it would seem the WIA is on track to make another loss in 2016.

When will the Board stand up, be accountable and actually do something to right the ship?

We are all very well aware of the challenges, and some greater transparency will go some way to ensuring accountability and performance.

Most local radio clubs have far greater financial transparency. All the local clubs we are aware of report to members each month on the finances.

If the board can’t or is unwilling to report on the finances, then how well are the commercial agreements with the ACMA being managed?  What impact will this have on the WIA Examination Service?

Now, moving along, as promised, a brief report on the Open Forum from the Conference weekend on Norfolk Island.

As reported last week there were about 55-60 members in attendance.  The Open Forum started off well as attendees had availed themselves of the cake and tea following the AGM.  There were the formalities associated with recognising the great work done by the many volunteers and contributors, with awards and certificates handed out accordingly.  All in all, a good session with some well-deserved recognition for those who put in the hard yards.

 Of the 60 or so attendees, I would say about 10-15% made a contribution to the session.  This reflected about the same level of participation and interest as the Financial Report.  Apathy is the single largest threat to the future of our hobby and WIA.

 The Chairman then moved to the more strategic discussions – or lack of them.  No strategy was presented to members to address membership decline, affiliated clubs, financial performance, or growth in the hobby, education & training development or marketing. 

A number of constructive suggestions were put to the Board by members, including things like: leaving AR Magazine at the Doctors surgery as a way of growing the hobby; introducing a true digital magazine (move into the 21st century, reduce costs, improve member services); advertising on the WIA website to bring in some much needed revenue; introduce a “PDF magazine Only” membership class (reduce printing and postage costs); improve communication with members and clubs; introduce a one year free membership (PDF Magazine only) for new Foundation Licence holders; implementing a simple help-desk system at the National Office to manage the approx. 25,000 queries that it handles each year (keeping in mind about 15% of all queries to the office go unanswered).

 Many of the more progressive ideas were received with what appeared to be reluctance by the Board.  Rather, we were presented with “reasons” why such ideas would not work.  Many of these “reasons” illustrate that the Board does not have a handle on the realities of the internet or 21st century service delivery.

 There continues to be a reluctance by our Board to seek out expertise in areas they are lacking, and a propensity to cling to the old ways of doing things; not really very progressive for a hobby with such a rich history of technical development. 

 The WIA website offers good potential for online advertising.  Alas, our President stated that existing AR advertisers don’t have additional budget to cover online advertising.  This clearly illustrates a lack of appreciation for the potential of web based marketing. 

 Remember that the next time your membership fees increase, or our WIA makes another loss.  Or we have another year with $0 for club grants….. 

 It was somewhat disappointing that the bulk of discussion centred around all the possible places that old issues of Amateur Radio Magazine could be left; presumably to attract new members. 

Are kids really going to pick up an old AR Magazine whilst waiting for the doctor and then start nagging mum and dad for a radio, or WIA membership?  Really?  When was the last time you saw kids (or even young adults for that matter) sitting around doing nothing?  They are busy surfing the web, checking out Facebook, Twitter or Instagram on their mobile phones.  The WIA website is not even mobile compatible.  The WIA continues to find reasons not to have a social media presence. 

 Unless the Board is not telling us something, they appear to have no strategic plan for 2016 or for the upcoming 3-5 years.  What vision should we have for our hobby and WIA?  This was probably the most disappointing take-away from the Open Forum; our Board has no strategic plan.

 

Over the coming weeks we’ll continue to ask the Board to listen to what members want, improve the consultation process, and introduce some basic accountability and transparency.  We’ll lobby for improved performance from our directors and we’ll continue to provide positive contributions. We’ll continue to remind these men that they are our elected representatives, they are there to protect our hobby.

Word about the WIA Reform Group continues to spread, but we need your help to reach all members.

Our efforts to publish letters in Amateur Radio Magazine continue to be denied. Why are we being censored?  We are members – we have a right to air our views in the national magazine.  Our views are substantially less controversial than some columns that continue to be published….

Forward this email to your local club and friends.  Take a copy when you meet local amateurs for a coffee. If they contact Feedback@wiarg.org we can send them a newsletter direct.

Continue to contact the National Office and Board Members and ask for your questions to be answered.  Ask them to publish a budget for 2016 and issue monthly P&L statements.  It only takes the push of a button in the MYOB package by the Treasurer.  No effort or cost at all.  Then we can all be informed.

Email us if you have questions or concerns.

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

We’ll continue to challenge this Board and demand better results.  A strong WIA is critical to protect our hobby.  We encourage every radio amateur in Australia to be a member.

Until next week,

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

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

 

The WIA needs YOU

WIA membership is in decline.  212 members did not renew in 2015 and 150 have followed suit so far in 2016.

This is an alarming statistic – an 8.5% decline in 15 months.

We can certainly sympathise with those who have voted with their wallet, however the Institute needs members.  Badly.

The WIA must change if it is to survive, and the only way to drive change is from within.

Please consider re-joining.

If you are not intending to renew your membership this year, please reconsider….and if you have never been a member, please think about joining.

The WIA can be a modern, member focused organisation, effectively representing our interests to Government – but we need your help to turn it around…..

73

WIA RG

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