Wireless Institute of Australia
The Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) was formed in 1910, and is the first and oldest national amateur radio society in the world. It represents the amateur radio operators of Australia as the AR "peak body" in dealings with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), the authority under the government of Australia that administers communications within and external to Australia. The WIA publishes a bi-monthly journal for its membership called Amateur Radio. The organisation is the national society representing Australia in the International Amateur Radio Union.
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Origins of the WIA
The WIA today is a single integrated nation-wide body, but it commenced as separate though collegiate state-based bodies and throughout most of its history was a federation of these state bodies. It traces its origins to the formation in 1910 of the New South Wales Institute of Telegraphy. The Wireless Institute of Victoria was established in 1911. Next came the short-lived Wireless Institute of Queensland, which held its first meeting in May 1912. The Western Australia Radio Club was formed shortly before first World War I.
The WIA and the ITU WRC-19
The WIA is the Australian "peak" Radio Amateur society for over 100 years, and a foundation member of the IARU (Region 3). The IARU represents the Radio Amateurs and their global spectrum allocations with ITU. The ITU World Radio Conference is being held this year and the WIA is sending two volunteers - a non trivial expense. We have already attended a number of preparatory meetings for this. The International Telecommunication Union, originally the International Telegraph Union, is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies. It is the oldest among all the 15 specialised agencies of UN.
On 16 May 2004, the Annual General Meeting adopted a new constitution that established a national organisational structure (seven Directors with individual membership of persons in the national body) versus the former federal arrangement (membership held in state Divisions, and the Divisions having membership of the Federal body).
The Annual General Meeting was held in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, over 28–30 May 2010, and included:
- a formal meeting
- an inspection of Black Mountain Tower
- a commemorative dinner, including:
- a barbecue and gathering at the country property of Dick Smith at Gundaroo, New South Wales, on the last day of the conference
- a live broadcast of the weekly WIA news
Training and licensing
The WIA conducts training sessions and has training materials for people wishing to become licensed Amateur Radio operator. For over 20 years, the WIA provided exam services for the Radio Amateur qualification, the AOCP. Under the ACMA deed 2009-2019. the testing utilised a system of accredited testers, and issued the authorisations for the ACMA to issue licences.
A new Deed of Agreement is now in place between the ACMA and the Australian Maritime College (AMC), to deliver amateur radio examinations, issue certificates and related callsign management.
The Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network (WICEN) (pronounced 'Wy-sen') trains and rehearses amateur radio operators in amateur radio emergency communications for call-out in civil emergencies. It is organised by state and region, with autonomous bodies in each state linked to that jurisdiction's disaster plan. In most states, WICEN is organised by a committee of the WIA state organisation, but in New South Wales and Victoria, WICEN is separately incorporated. WICEN has been activated for various emergencies, notably in recent years the Black Saturday bushfires on 7 February 2009 in Victoria.
Remembrance Day (RD) Contest
Amateur radio operators in Australia participate in the Remembrance Day Contest on the weekend nearest Victory in the Pacific Day, 15 August. The competition commemorates amateur radio operators who died during World War II and encourages friendly participation to help improve the operating skills of participants. The contest runs for 24 hours, from 0300 UTC on the Saturday (formerly 0800), preceded by a broadcast including a speech by a dignitary or notable Australian (such as the Prime Minister of Australia, Governor-General of Australia, or a military leader) and the reading of the names of amateur radio operators who are known to have died. It is organised by the WIA, with operators in each Australian state contacting operators in other states, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea. A trophy is awarded to the state that can boast the greatest rate of participation, based on a formula including: number of operators, number of contacts made, and radio frequency bands used.
Since October 1933, the WIA has published a monthly magazine reporting upon its activities. The magazine is primarily intended for the members but is available at specialist retailers. From 2018 the publication schedule was altered to bimonthly.
An Amateur Radio licence is "broadcast" licence, with the requirement to regularly identify the station on-air by way of a callsign. A callbook lists these callsigns with related identification details. The first Australian callbook known to be published was in 1914, 4 years after the WIA was formed - with war-time gaps in publishing. Since 1954, the WIA has published its "Callbook" as part of a formal agreement with the communications regulator (then the PMG). The regulator then ceased publishing the call book. The call book lists the callsigns and contact details of all licensed Australian radio amateurs, together with a range of key information relevant to Australian amateur radio operators. The "Callbook" has typically been published on an annual basis. The licensee data is made available under exclusive arrangement with the regulator of the day (presently Australian Communications and Media Authority).
From time to time the WIA produces books on topics specific to Australian amateur radio. The most recent effort (2017) is "Wireless Men & Women at War", edited by a team including the WIA historian Peter Wolfenden VK3RV.
Notable members of the WIA
- Ernest Thomas Fisk (later Sir Ernest) - first President of the WIA, founder of AWA and pioneer of broadcasting
- Charles Maclurcan - second President of the WIA, pioneer broadcaster through his station 2CM
- Rev. John Flynn – founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service
- Alfred Traeger – Australian radio pioneer
- Florence Vi McKenzie (“Mrs Mac”) – Australia’s first woman electrical engineer, first licensed woman amateur radio operator, and the first female member of the Wireless Institute of Australia
- Dick Smith VK2DIK – electronics entrepreneur and adventurer
- Michael Owen VK3KI (SK) - Past President of the National WIA.
- Wireless Institute of Australia Submission to the Productivity Commission Review of the RadioCommunications Acts and the Role of the Australian Communications Authority, 12 October 2001, accessed 30 May 2010
- Wireless Institute of Australia (2009). Wireless Institute of Australia official web site. Retrieved 18 January 2009.
- Wireless Institute of Australia, National Library of Australia catalogue, accessed 30 May 2010
- Wireless Institute of Australia, National Museum of Australia catalogue, accessed 30 May 2010
- ACMA Glossary (WIA), Australian Communications and Media Authority, accessed 30 May 2010
- Wireless Institute of Australia (2009). "About AR Magazine. Retrieved 18 January 2009.
- International Amateur Radio Union (2008). "Member Societies". Retrieved 21 February 2009.
- Wireless Institute of Australia (2009). "Constitution of the Wireless Institute of Australia". Retrieved 18 January 2009.
- Wireless Institute of Australia, delimiter.com.au, accessed 30 May 2010
- ARISS school contact planned at Centennary [sic] Dinner of Wireless Institute of Australia, ON4WF, International Amateur Radio Union Region 1, 27 May 2010, accessed 30 May 2010
- "Australia Students Celebrate WIA Centenary with ARISS QSO". ARRL. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- WIA News 30 May 2010 (MP3), **warning: large file (MP3)**, WIA, accessed 30 May 2010
- Wireless Institute of Australia (training materials), Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Victoria, Australia, accessed 30 May 2010
- History of Amateur Radio Callsigns in Australia, IEEE Region 10, accessed 30 May 2010
- 2009 Bushfire Activation Updates, WICEN Vic, accessed 15 August 2009
- "Remembrance Day Contest". Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- John Flynn Timeline, Royal Flying Doctor Service, accessed 30 May 2010
- Australia’s women pioneers of telecommunications, National Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame www.pioneerwomen.com.au, accessed 30 May 2010
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