FAQ
Where does the name 'WICEN' ("why-sen") come from?
The Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network was originally set up before government communications networks were robust.  An unsophisticated but reliable back up service was desirable.  The Amateur service could provide such a back up.  These days, the need for physical networks is much diminished, but trained volunteer radio operators still play a part in most States' disaster planning.  A group generally known as WICEN has existed in southern Tasmania for many years and is known by that name by its 'clients'.  When it was decided to formalise and incorporate the group the name was kept.
I'm new to radio.  Isn't WICEN for the more experienced?
There are many years of experience within the WICEN group, from all walks of life and individual expertise varies greatly in breadth and depth.  All members are expected to be active and contribute as best they can, learning as they go.  In operational situations, newer members are paired with the more experienced until they have the necessary knowledge and skills.  We learn by doing and all have something of value to contribute, be it radio related, engineering, organisational or social.
What's different about WICEN?
Most of what we do involves mobile or portable operations.  These bring a different set of challenges to achieve reliability.  We get out and about more often than most radio Amateurs and what we do often provides a community service.
I'm already in a club.  Why join WICEN?
Most of our members are also members of REAST and the WIA, or contribute to the provision of regional Amateur Radio services in some other way.  We don't compete, but work together and provide different opportunities.  If you are more interested in experimentation without the pressure of meeting schedules, want to work on the bands mainly from home and don't enjoy working in the field, sometimes in difficult conditions, then maybe WICEN isn't for you.  If you get a buzz from doing both, then join both.  We encourage all our members to also be in the WIA to show support for the volunteers who look after the interests of all Amateurs.
I don't have much in the way of equipment.  Problem?
Absolutely not.  Most of the equipment we use is provided by members and we do encourage members to build up their pool of mobile and portable gear so as to be self sufficient.  However, we know this can be expensive and takes time, so things are organised to team up so each team is suitably equipped.
How often are WICEN activities held?
Our core program is driven by the organisations we serve, so we fit in with their schedule.  Each event has to be planned and prepared for.  The lead up usually involves a meeting and a survey of the area where we'll be working.  Generally, we try to do something at least once a month.  If there's a gap in the event schedule, we'll run a hands on learning workshop or some other activity.  We regularly participate in Amateur Radio contests on a portable basis.  These provide opportunities for equipment testing - and to have a fun social time!
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What about my family?
We're very mindful of the support we have from our partners, who are always welcome, as are older children.  There are regular social events which are in high demand from those who must be obeyed!
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Where is WICEN based?
Nowhere in particular. We are mobile and portable.  We keep costs down by hiring low cost venues to suit needs, or more usually are hosted by one of our members.  Currently, most of members are in the 'Channel' so we tend to be there, but we chose a location central to those likely to participate.
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What does it cost?
Not much!  Subs are currently $25 each year for WIA members and $27 for others.  Most of our costs are met through fundraising efforts and member donations.  Some of our 'clients' help with fuel costs and, generally, members donate these to the cause., so it works out that the more you get out of your membership, the greater the opportunity to put in.
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How do I join?
We suggest that before joining as a full member, you come along to one or two of our activities, to meet members and to get a feel for what we do and how we do it.  If you like what you find, ask a member to sponsor you and complete a membership application which you can download here.
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