Vale Michael J. Owen VK3KI (sk)

Silent Key

With extreme sadness and surprise we record the death of the WIA President, and IARU Region 3 Chairman, Michael Owen VK3KI who died at his home on the afternoon of Saturday 22, September.

Michael was influential in shaping the hobby of Amateur Radio since the 1960s with his membership of the WIA Victorian Division Council, and then progressing through the ranks of administration both here and overseas.

He was a director of the IARU Region 3 when it formed in 1968 , a Federal WIA President 1969-1972, WIA Honorary Life Member, and recipient of the Ron Wilkinson Achievement Award with David Wardlaw VK3ADW for their work at the ITU World Administrative Radio Conference 1979 which delivered the so-called WARC bands.

Michael is mainly known by today's radio amateurs as leading the WIA in partnership'with the late Chris Jones, from its federal structure to a national organisation.

In May 2004 the WIA adopted a new Constitution, changing the structure to one of direct membership, governed by a board of directors.

A few weeks later the administration (ACA) released its findings on a major review of Amateur Radio in Australia.

Michael had carriage of the end to Morse code as an Australian licence requirement, reduction of five licence grades to two, and the introduction of the new Foundation Licence.

All licence assessments were done through the WIA Exam Service and an appointed Registered Training Organisation, which has since trained future WIA member emergency officers.

Among the many other matters included the Publications Committee responsible for the WIA journal Amateur Radio and the annual callbook, and the WIA Centenary in 2010.

He achieved all this and more within in a decade on the domestic scene but Michael never took his eye off the international arena.

Amateur radio societies around the world have benefited from Michael's enthusiasm and experience. While overseas he was the IARU Vice President for 10 years.

He participated in many IARU committees and was a member of the IARU Observer Team at a number of World Radiocommunications Conferences, in particular WRC03.

There he was responsible for Article 25. It included the abolition of mandatory Morse code, a freeing up of amateur radio involvement in emergency communications and third party traffic.

On his return home the WIA became highly regarded by government agencies and the ACMA for its professionalism and efficiency, especially in relation to the WIA examination and the call sign management service.

He became the Chairman IARU Region 3 at Bangalore in 2005, and was preparing for the next regional meeting in Ho Chi Minh City, in November.

Highly respected by all who knew him, both in his professional career as a lawyer and for his work with Amateur Radio, Michael will be very sadly missed.

He was survived by his wife Nan, who accompanied him on many official functions, and his two daughters. Our sincere condolences to Michael's family and friends.

A Funeral is to be held 10.30am on Friday 28 of September, at St Andrews Anglican Church Corner of New & Church Streets Brighton. If you would like to send a message of condolence please email the message to


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