Technorama 2018 launches: your time starts now!

Registration for Technorama 2018 is off and running.  Sign up now for early-bird member rates, and book a room at the official hotel too.

What’s a Technorama?

We’re an organisation that provides support for education, professional and social interactions, and cross-deployment of skills and resources, within the community of technologists who support Community Broadcasting in Australia.   We aim to increase the number of trained technologists in Australia, and create opportunities to increase the diversity of the Technologist ranks.  We have members and we partner with industry peak bodies and suppliers.   Technorama has national scope and is incorporated as a not-for-profit in NSW, with ACNC Charity status.

Each year we run an event (also called “Technorama”) which is a bit like a mini-conference, and a bit like a networking event, and a vital part of our reason for being.

And now, the headlines:

  • Kick-off function at Joy FM on 18 May.  Meet the team, see the studios, drink the wine, enjoy the pizza and renew old aquaintances.
  • A full slate of programming for Saturday 19 May and Sunday 20 May
  • A special Education day on Friday 18 May, aimed at technical newbs.  We’ll teach you how to wire cables, build kits, and get things to work – all in one day
  • The 2018 Technorama Awards program is off and running;  nominations are open now and close at 2359 on Friday 6 April 2018.
  • Meet a few of your favourite industry partners, including vendors, the CBAA, CBF, CMTO, and other C-suite personalities.
  • Our Special Guest of Honour is Julie Spencer, one of the most experienced RF Engineers in the country.  Julie will be with us for the full Technorama program, and will participate in the Education day.
  • We’ve announced a special bursary for young adults and women, to help get you to TR18.  Applications close 25 March
  • Members should schedule to attend a Special General Meeting of Technorama Members, to be held at 1700 on Saturday 19 May 2018

Your time starts now!  Click through the other stories, or head for the TR18 PAGE tab.

Julie Spencer is the TR18 Special Guest of Honour

We’re just so stoked to have Julie Spencer joining us for TR18 as our Special Guest of Honour.   This role has a special status at Technorama: each year we roll out the red carpet for a colleague who is senior in the industry and has a direct connection with what we do.  That person is indeed our guest for the weekend.

Julie is no stranger to Community Radio: she got involved with a station while studying in Canberra, and the experience firmly locked down the broadcasting bug.

Julie graduated from University of Canberra with an Honours degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering and initially moved to research and teaching… but the call of the toolbox was strong.

After a stint at OneTel as a microwave frequency assigner, her passion for RF Engineering took Julie to Broadcast Australia where she became a Project Engineer responsible for leading teams and commissioning over 55 digital television stations across Queensland and Western Australia.  In the process she satisfied her love of the Australian bush – by four wheel driving to remote sites, climbing broadcast towers and “meeting a huge range of people”.  Through her career at Broadcast Australia, she developed skills in whole-of-facility design and management, including a good understanding of electrical systems, mechanical systems, earthing, tower design and buildings.

After Broadcast Australia, Julie worked as a Technical Advisor for the Digital Switchover Taskforce (“The Restack”), and then spent three years at SBS as Engineering Manager (aka, Chief Engineer).  At SBS, among other projects, she designed and commissioned the new DAB encoding system.

In 2016 Julie returned to Canberra to be with family, and has most recently been a Ground Station Engineer and WHS manager for Geoscience Australia.

Julie Spencer has always been an “on-tool” engineer, and loves hands-on work.  She’s never happy unless she’s singing, teaching, or building something – just the right person to join us in Melbourne for TR18.

At TR18 we fully expect to see Julie holding a soldering iron, discussing finer points of antennae and towers, and talking about a career which is only just getting started.



How to register for TR18

Registration for TR18 is unbelievably simple, which is why there’s hardly anything on this page.

The entire process is managed by Eventbrite;  just answer the questions, select your payment option (credit card or invoice), fill in the credit card details, and press the button.  Note that Invoicing is more complex for us, and only available if you have an ABN.   We much prefer the plastic option.

Registration is cheaper for Technorama members:  your membership is covered by the saving over the non-Member Registration rate.

We have a one-stop process. To read all about the event, where it is, what to do, see all the options and to get started on becoming a member of Technorama and/or register for TR18, click the blue thing below and follow the dots.

Do you provide other accreditation?

Yes, but not from the registration form.   To discuss media or special access, please contact us directly.


TR18 Travel and Accommodation guide

Where can you stay?

We’ve found and negotiated a convention hotel, but before we talk about that you’ll want to know that there are many hotels in the area surrounding the Maltese Club, and all the ones that we’ve checked within walking distance are perfectly adequate (or better).

This link takes you to a hotel listing for the area.  Note that Google Maps starts with all hotels that exist, so some properties show up that don’t actually have accommodation – they will be identified with a cocktail icon.  The packaged search should identify room availability for the core Technorama dates, but take no risks with the form.  Ensure you have the correct dates on the form before you book.

Important information:     Melbourne is known to be a bit of a sporting city.  You knew that, right?  Demand on hotels can change very suddenly, depending on which teams are playing locally that weekend, and state of the league ladders – which applies to AFL, NRL and ALeague.  Don’t leave things to the last minute or your room could be expensive or unavailable.  Or both.

The Vibe:  Technorama Hotel

Technorama has locked down a very attractive deal at the Vibe Carlton, which is arguably the best hotel in the area and certainly the closest to the Maltese Club;  about three minutes walk.    The Vibe is midway between tram stops 16 and 17 on Royal Parade (Route 19).

The Technorama deal at the Vibe is $140/night, post-paidINCLUDING BREAKFAST for one person.  This is good value compared to pre-purchase at $112-134 without breakfast.  The $140 or lower rate is available for the nights of Technorama, and there are cheap nights available either side of the TR dates.

We know the TFE Hotels booking site is weird, and we know it’s going to show you confusing rates.  If you take the Technorama rate, you will get the best deal, and we’re providing lots of feedback to the hotel.

Follow this link to access the Technorama deal and note a few important points:

  1. The calendar exposed by the link works on basis of check-in and check-out days, so it looks like you are booking three nights.  The nights counter shows the actual  number of days selected
  2. the rate shown on the calendar is the lowest rate possible, which is a prepay rate with no breakfast.
  3. when you follow the link, you will be offered the correct code and the two nights of Technorama.  You can select another date range by clicking on the check-in then check-out dates.
  4. the rate shown on the tab when you pick your nights will be the average price per night for the number of nights you’ve selected.  That might well be less than $140, and it’s what you will pay.
  5. If you want additional nights, just highlight the dates or change the calendar entries.
  6. Click on   Check Availability  , and then select the “Technorama Daily Rate” under “Guest Room King” or Guest Room Double Double.  If you select any rate other than “Technorama” you will not automatically get breakfast, and you will be required to prepay.
  7. There are Technorama rates on the bigger rooms.  Click on the “view available rates” bar to see if rooms are available.
  8. Click on the red   BOOK   button.  On the next page you can also add breakfasts to cover additional occupants at $15/day/person.
  9. Bookings can be changed later.

Committee members collectively have stayed many times and nights at the Vibe, and can attest to the quality of the rooms and the goodness of the breakfast.

Use the Web

We contacted a number of hotels in the area, and the advice is the same:  check the aggregator websites (Wotif, Trivago,, etc) for general pricing, but BOOK DIRECT for best pricing (and see below for specifics against some of the hotels).  Aggregator rates will most likely be higher than or the same as the hotel-direct rates and, while the hotels can’t say this, they can give you a better deal if you book direct.    Let us know if you find an amazing deal, and we will update this page.

The most important thing to do is book now, and hunt around a little when you do.  You might still do better on the web with a bit of checking, and last year one of the hotels had an amazing deal that came in after we’d negotiated the rate – and we were able to switch rates after making the booking.

Also:  if you are booking online check the number of guests defaulting on the booking form.  Almost all sites will default to two adults, which might or might not be what you want – and it can certainly change the rate or availability.

Many hotels in the area have no-charge parking.   On street parking is metered on Saturday, but is low risk and highly available.

TR18 Anchor page

Technorama Incorporated

Technorama Member 16 March Newsletter

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Training: Technorama’s first TX Blitz day

Well, the magic certainly happened on Friday 12 Jan 2018.   The plan was to bring together a team of people to clean, check and commission as many bits of donated equipment as we could.  In particular, we were focused on a stack of not-very-healthy FM exciters – and about all we knew of these was where they’d originated, and that many had “faulty” stickers loudly stating what we feared.  As it happens, the stickers were correct.

Technorama took the initiative to structure the event as an education day.  We thought, rightly as it happens, that hands-on is the best way to learn.  We almost underestimated the enthusiasm of attendees, who were grateful to have hardware to debug, test equipment to take measurements, and experienced mentors to ask.

For the Technorama team it was a way to discover if we can mount a similar exercise at TR18.   You can read about the plan here, on our event registration page.   By the way, THAT was a voyage of discovery too, as we experimented with Zenbership’s Event capability.   That, plus payment gateway, was a seamless experience, and showed how even small stations could run paid events with minimal admin intervention.

We had ten participants from Canberra, Dungog, Newcastle, and metro Sydney, and our youngest helper was just 8 years old.  Hey, never too early to start.


Over the day, much practical work was completed, and a few splodges of theory were whiteboarded in the process.  Attendees appreciated that they could see the relationship between formulae and a real direct outcome.

At completion, 10 exciters were pronounced very much alive. A stereo generator was synthesized from thin air and a certain amount of software. We sang a round of “Ying Tong”.

An audio console was given the serious once-over, and exceeded specifications.  We measured <0.2% distortion, and and a frequency response that was flat 20-to-20.  Essentially transparent, and you can’t ask better than that.

It’s hard to be anything but pleased about our first TX and Audio Blitz. Thanks to all for coming, and to Hope for hosting.


Training: Webinar 31 Jan at 1830: Tech for the Non-technical

If you’re a non-technical person, how do you learn techspeak? Our second education event for Jan 2018 is Station Tech Webinar – a reprisal of the standing-room-only session run at CBAA 2017. This is very much for non-technical people who need to understand or interpret technical statements made by others. Read all about the Webinar here, and register online through the link on that page right now – before you forget.

John Maizels (President of Technorama) will deliver the first CBAA webinar of 2018, aimed at providing technical guidance for the non-technical.  As with the CBAA session, the Webinar will cover how your station works, and familiarise you with the end-to-end broadcast chain from microphone to antenna and even a bit beyond.

In this webinar you will:

  • Learn about your on-air path from studio to transmitter, and how to identify all the bits, in non-technical jargon!
  • Receive plain-language information to help you with a CBF technology grant.
  • Pick up useful strategic tips about all of the tools at your station that plug into electrical sockets, including phones, panels, links, antennae, and more.
  • Find out more about the vibrant technical community that exists within the larger community broadcasting sector and how you (and your station staff & volunteers) can join in.
  • Get an opportunity to have your technical questions answered.

Who is this webinar for?

All community broadcasters, especially managers and board/committee members, who have technical interest and more importantly, technical responsibilities.

Presented by: John Maizels

A stalwart of the community broadcasting sector, John started his radio career as a teenager, learning to build consoles and studios, developing announcing skills and running radio stations at school. He has worked professionally in radio and television in a variety of creative, production and engineering roles, was the founding Chair of PBS, spent 11 years as Technology Director at Northside Radio 99.3 and has been active with the CBAA since it was formed. Professionally John teaches television and works in the broadcast industry as a freelancer and consultant. He is passionate about good broadcasting, good coffee, and answering tough questions in simple language.

Don’t wait!

There’s no charge for this event, but places are limited.   To ensure your place is reserved, register online with this link   Details of how to connect will be sent to you.

This Webinar is the perfect backgrounder to assist you with upcoming CBF grant submissions, and to help you avoid some of the obvious technical potholes that trip up many grant submitters.  An hour of webinar won’t turn you into a broadcast engineer, but it will definitely help you with the conversations that you need to have.

The experience of Technorama 2016 – wow!

We’ve been getting great feedback about TR16, and thanks for the honest comments.   The photo repository will be updated soon once we’ve done the uploads – there were lots of good shots.

Most people remember the food – it’s not often that a conference gets such positive comments about variety and quantity of the meals.   And we hear you:  next year we’ll go easier on the donuts and heavier on the fruit.

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make it a success, and special thanks to Alan Sweeney and his team at MediaHub for making the opening night extra-special.  That was an event that might be impossible to top.

Many good suggestions came out of the plenaries, and we’re going to mull over everything we heard as we move into the planning for TR17.

Meanwhile, you can help us by doing some things:

  1. go to the Technorama Inc resources page and fill in the survey
  2. while you’re there, apply for membership using the form on the back of the constitution.   And while you’re there, browse the constitution.   Tell us if you think we’re on the right track

Ideas we’re definitely pursuing:

  • The buy/swap/sell service, and we’ve already had one offer of bulk items that is very compelling
  • Wiki for white papers and other how-tos
  • Forum for tips and questions

New 160728:  If you have experience with using or installing (even better!) specific software for these applications, please contact us ASAP.   We would like to have some tools running by mid-August.

  • Seminars/webinars, and inter-TR events.   We have started discussions with training organisations who might be able to help.

And what will make this happen faster:  volunteer to assist with one or more of those activities.   I’m sure there’s any number of webmaster/postmaster/contributor/writer/documenter types in our midst.  Don’t wait for the committee to do everything, because we can’t.   Drop us a line at [email protected]

Web updating:

Shortly, we’ll archive everything that happened at TR16, but meanwhile stay in touch.  I’d love to hear from you.   Drop the team a line via [email protected], or me directly through [email protected]

John Maizels
President, Technorama Inc


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