At the start of 2018, five Amateurs met and discussed how to revitalise the hobby. The Radio Amateur Society of Australia was formed. A plan was crafted, a constitution prepared and funds expended. RASA became a functional, registered, not-for-profit national body.
So far, over 560 Australian Amateurs have joined us.
This article is an update on what we have achieved so far, what we are working on and what we hope to achieve in the future.
- We aren’t forcing anyone to do anything they do not wish to. Should those who join RASA also choose to be in any other group or organisation, it is their own choice. If you prefer not to be a member of any organisation, it is also fine. We will further the interests of all Amateurs through consultation and consensus.
- RASA is a model of the Internet era. All of its communications are via email, website posting and social media. Its Management Team, spread over four different states, meet each fortnight via teleconference. Time limits on tenure for its leaders are built into its constitution to ensure that the introduction of fresh people and ideas are an ongoing part of its culture.
- It keeps its costs low. There is no physical headquarters (It doesn’t need one). RASA prepares its documents on commercial cloud sharing software. Any subscription received from members is intended to match the cost of administration, quality bookkeeping and fiscal responsibility. Accordingly, from 2019 the annual membership fee has been set to just $8 per member.
- RASA keeps its members informed. We produce a Bulletin every two weeks and make frequent social media postings. We are particularly keen to hear from clubs. If you have an event you would like to promote, please drop us an email.
- RF spectrum space is set by the ITU and ACMA. What happens between the edges of the bands is a convention established by all Australian Amateurs. Technology is ever changing and there is competition between different modes in the same frequency space: the band plans need to be constantly revised to take this into account. We have conducted a wide consultative process to produce revised band plans for 160, 80 and 40m. Details soon.
- We have created a new website that lists commonly used HF frequencies for each mode – vkfrequencies.info
- One of the big issues for all operators is the process of dealing with interference. This may be equipment that interferes with us, or what we may potentially do to others when we transmit. It is a procedural minefield of knowing how to identify sources and navigate successful outcomes. This year, RASA is launching an interference management Knowledge Base that all Amateurs may draw upon to help resolve their interference problems. A uniform approach to interference management is important, as the ACMA and power companies are reluctant to react to complaints unless critical details are provided in just the right way. This new initiative will benefit all Amateur Radio operators.
- RASA regularly consults with the ACMA on a range of topics. When we do this, it is the result of surveys and recommendations from the widest possible audience and not just a best guess by a small number of individuals. Our regulatory body will react to the needs of Amateurs around the country, but they also want to see the evidence of fair consultation before submissions are given any weight. Part of the RASA charter is to provide that proof, but we need your help. When we do ask for feedback on a topic, your opinions matter and help set the agenda.
RASA is working hard to represent the interests of all Amateurs, both members and non-members, but your membership is an important part of giving greater weight to our voice.
If you have already joined RASA we thank you for your support. If you have not yet taken that step, but would like to, simply email your name and callsign to info AT vkradioamateurs.org and you will receive a confirmation. Membership is free for 2018. From January 01, 2019, membership will change to $8 per year. If you would like to make a donation at any time, this too would be appreciated.
As Amateur Radio Operators, being heard from a distance is what we do, so naturally we constantly strive to improve our antennas and equipment. Please remember that being heard by the regulatory authority which governs us is critical to the hobby.
This is what RASA does. Being heard is important