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WIA National and
in Sydney in 1960 , I started school in Theodore in 1965 where we lived
on an irrigation farm where I enjoying many of the things that most
country kids take for granted, like swimming in the creek on weekends,
fishing in the irrigation canal's for Crayfish etc but childhood gives
way to adolescence and these pleasures had to come second to my school
work as I looked toward a possible career in Radio electronics with
the RAAF. So it was with hopes and dreams and top marks for my Junior
Exam I headed for Rockhampton Grammar School for grades 11 and 12. Unfortunately
late in 1976 my father contracted Q Fever ( Also known as Ross River
Virus) and his ill health forced me to leave school early to run the
Property whilst my mother handled the accounting and Nursed my Dad back
to health which didn't occur until some 2 Years later and about 12 months
after that, I myself was diagnosed as having Q Fever and was also incapacitated
for over 18 Months. Symptoms of this disease are similar to Chronic
Fatigue Syndrome and then some.
Being the only son in our family I continued farming and more or less followed in my Dads footsteps (Well up to a point I suppose). While my chances of a career in the Air Force had diminished my enthusiasm for all things Technical and Electronic didn't, and was an avid DXer on 27 Megs for many years and chalked up over 75 Countries, around fifty confirmed with QSL cards. I must say that being on the farm gave me some great opportunities , I feel sure that these things like flexible work environment and hours (depending on the season) , Travel i.e.:Agricultural Exchange Trips would not have been available had I lived in Suburbia. Theodore at the time was and still is a small Country town of around 1500 people. My Parents and I farmed here until 1979 when we made the move to Wandoan.
| A chance meeting
with an Amateur in Toowoomba led to discover Amateur Radio and all I
was after was some measurements for a 27 Meg Yagi, you see this bloke
lived in a house just up the road from where a friend was living and
I'd spied this massive Yagi on a tower in the back yard so I knocked
on the door and figured I would pick this chaps brains about antennas.
The particular gents name was Colin Cogzell VK4CI. Col gave me some
old techno manuals from the Marconi School of Wireless and with a few
simple tips was responsible for pointing me towards the amateur Ranks.
I studied all the theory like mad and after many CW sessions at home
I sat and Passed the NAOCP Exam in Chinchilla in December 1982 and obtained
the Call VK4NBK in January of 1983. At that time I used a Yaesu
FT-101ZD for my HF transceiver and after a mod to reduce the screen
grid voltage and give the then allowed Power limit of 30 Watts PEP for
NAOCP Operators. This radio functioned happily for many years and while
coupled with an 80 Mtr Inverted V, Horizontal Delta Loop, Two Element
Two Band Quad for 15 & 10 I worked Many Stations around the World
. My Station was at that time located in my bedroom on the farm 27 Km
West of Wandoan,
situated in the Upper Dawson Valley on the Leichardt Hi way approximately
455 Km WNW of Brisbane.
The fifteen acre Horse paddock next to the House gave rise to many wire antennas, some conventional, some not and some just plain weird. After the wonder's of the modern age and automatic telephones with their underground cables came along my two wire end fed 1.8 Km long wire was born, 5 9 + + signal reports were had from as far away as Greenland and Norway on the Long Path to Europe and much the same into Northern and Western US and Canada although the beast did suffer dramatically from induced electrical noise.
See Photo below HI.
Typical Summer Electrical Storm around Wandoan
The Header Cab with the FT 101-ZD
My big Vertical mounted on top of the Harvester.
| I also
operated mobile with the trusty FT101-ZD in the Header Harvester running
a Contract Harvesting Business for a number of years and by 1989/90
I had traveled throughout most of the Grain growing regions of Queensland
and New South Wales. The poor crops due to drought conditions in 1991/92
Harvest season made it un-economical for me to continue. The Antenna
that you see in the Photo above is a top loaded helical for 80 Mtr's
made out of 19mm pvc conduit and wound with 1.5 mm enabled Copper wire
Length 12 Ft.
I had developed an interest in gliding about 1984-5 and while learning to fly regularly used a scanner and listened on 2 Meter's to various Stations from Rockhampton to Brisbane and passed the Full Call theory Exam in 1990 this gained me the LAOCP and the Call of VK4JJF and Jumpin' Jack Flash Hit the airwaves. Having a Glider Pilots licence by this time you don't have to be Einstein to figure out where I carried out quite a few QSO's on VHF, Aeronautical mobile of course.
As for 2 Mtr exploits from the shack well these were undertaken with an FT411 Handy Talkie & Home Brew Amplifier fed out to Twin 9 Element Yagi's at 55 Ft, see the Photo's below. The Horizontal antenna was for TV.
| Bearing in mind that from Wandoan the nearest 2
Mtr repeater to me was 120 Km to the South West at
Roma and with very few
amateur's in the area most of my signal was directed to
Dalby Club's Repeater
on Mt Kiangaro in the
Bunya Mountains some 230 Km to
the SSE, I would work through the
Bundaberg Repeater when propagation would allow me
to squirt a signal the 260 Km to Mt Goonaneman, the same could be said for Blackdown Rockhampton and
The Morse was the next big hurdle but with some diligent practice both the 10 WPM send and receive were passed in August of 1992 and the Call VK4WAG was obtained and I Hear tell that there are some Amateur's that say the call suits me or so I'm told.
Since my move to Brisbane in the Late summer of 1993, to take up a position in an Engine conversion workshop had curtailed my HF activities somewhat I became mostly heard on the local 2 Mtr repeater's and to a small degree mobile HF with a Kenwood TS 440-S and my trusty FT-411 Hand Held for 2 Mtr's. I discovered that the Unit that I shared with two friends had a steel gutter running around it so in typical Amateur fashion I loaded it up with a tuner one night and found that it was virtually resonant at 3.610 pretty Cool eh. This amazing discovery saw me once again operating HF, although now a bit restricted due to keeping the piece with the neighbor's and restricting the Output Power down to below the threshold of TVI and BCI level. Twelve months or so passed and the work dried up at the conversion Workshop so I started driving Cabs, Yellow of course. After I moved in with a fellow Yellow Cab Driver and shared his house in the Browns Plains area I started to become a bit more active on HF and 2 Mtr's.
technology overtakes all things eventually, so with Paket, Amtor,
Pactor, SSTV and a host of other modes. I figured that I would take
the next logical step. And for me that was to develop my Own Web Page
due to my involvement in Drag Racing and Emergency and Counter disaster
services. I like a lot of other Australians I like
the outdoors so not long after I sold the farm and moved to Brisbane
I became involved in First Aid work with St John Ambulance which I've
now been doing for some years. I am also involved with other Emergency
response teams and after a stint out at Charleville during the flood
cleanup I have developed some rapidly deployable dipole antennas.
I'm currently developing a wire "Cloverleaf" Antenna for
the Low end of the HF Band, so stay tuned.
I now hold the Call sign of VK2KV since the move to VK2 so if you
haven't heard the Wag around on the bands that is why. I am
rather active on SSTV Analogue and Digital +/- and intend
to be more active in the near future on PSK31.
The High Country is a fantastic place to live and work although the summer storms are something to behold,.
More Updates soon
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