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VK3IO Australia flag Australia

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Hello all from Cockatoo, Melbourne, Australia and thank you for having a look at my "Biography".

Firstly, I have decided that I do not wish to receive any more QSL cards through the Buro.

I have now uploaded my qso's to LoTW for vk3io at this QTH, Cockatoo. Qso's from Oct 1, 1987 to May 2, 2014. No automatic uploads yet, but I try to upload my log reasonably often to LoTW and to eQSL. Last upload was December 31, 2015.

I am a member of the VK3 qsl Buro, but because I have great difficulty in collecting my cards and because I have been so very poor, over the past years in replying to Buro cards, it is now necessary for me to make this request.

As far as qsl'ng is concerned, I manage to reply to all direct cards, but this is also not easy or fast, as I am often away from my qth for one, two or three months, on work assignments. I hope you will all understand my problem.

Secondly, due to Australia Postal service air mail letter / card cost increases, starting 2014, it will now require US$3 or ONE IRC for return air mail postage. Make sure the IRC is not an old type. A new type IRC has been issued from Jan 01, 2014 and valid until to Dec 31, 2017. Thank you.

Cockatoo is small country town, about 50 km due east of Melbourne City centre and yes it probably got it's name from the Cockatoo bird which populates this area.

In this area we have many small farms and people who love horses and a famous tourist steam train which comes through our town, called Puff-n-Billy.

Below, on the left is a picture of a view to the east, from my QTH, across the rolling hills. On the right is looking down my driveway.











Unfortunately my QTH is in a weak TV signal area and so many of my neighbours and my home have mast head amplifiers for their TV system and this means I must be careful to not cause TVI.

But if I don't cause TVI to my home, then I must be doing OK.

I have many tall gum trees on my property, some about 120 feet (35 metres) high on our block, some of which are shown in the picture on the right and so I have many wire antennas, as I do not have much clear space for a rotary beam. Unfortunately one of those tall gum trees fell on my home on July 2011 and of course caused much damaged and grief. Luckily no one was hurt and today all is repaired, but for sure some of those trees will be cut down soon and make way for a future tower. These big gum trees are often called "Widow makers" as they often come crashing to the ground for no aparent reason or have large limbs falling on a still day.

Below is a view at the rear of my home, which is my neighbours paddock which I use or antenna work, but it is a forrest of trees and plants, which make for a challenging time getting those fishing lines, ropes and wires through the branches and after all is done, they may yet undo my hard work by absorbing some of the RF energy.

My usual HF antennas are two 160 mtr band dipoles, one broadside NE-SW and one broadside N-S, fed with open wire feeders and they are both about 100 feet (30 mtrs) high, connected to simple link coupled tuners, one tuner for each band for dipole 1 and one tuner for each band for dipole 2 (20 tuners in total), which are switchable via a relay matrix controlled by a 20 position rotary coax switch and this makes band changing easy, for such a tuned antenna / ladder line feeder system.

See photo at the top of this page.

I have recently been experimenting with 4 vertical dipoles in a 4 square configuration (switchable in NE, SE, SW, NW directions), hanging from ropes from a tall pine tree.

These dipoles at the moment are a half wave length for the 60m band, but being fed with open wire line and they have proven to be very usual and somewhat directional and can also be tuned to the on the 20m,30m,40m, 80m bands and are often much better than the horizontal160m dipoles (acting as big centre fed doublets on the higher bands).

Below is two view's of my antenna tuning box at the base of a big pine tree, which at the moment is used to house tuning networks for a 4 square experimental antenna. It accommodates 4 tuners, like at this time for 20m, 40m, 80m dx window and 80m cw end.

All elements are fed with ladder line, so they can easily be tuned to different bands and switched to different directions with some relay switching.

Of course it is always interesting when I open the door and get a big hairy spider looking at me.

All tuners are simple balanced tuners (series tuned link, parallel tuned antenna side),
















Simple Balanced Antenna Tuners used in the above project and for my 160m dipoles for all bands.

Ladder line spacing should be greater than 2 inches, if you plan to run high power. For high HF bands C2 can be 200 or 300pF maximum and this should suffice. For low bands, a 2 or 3 gang broadcast radio cap is fine, with about 1500pF total.

Adjust the ladder line tap point symetrically each side of the main coil center point and tune C1 and C2 alternatively for maximun field strength and minimum SWR.

Depending on your what band you use and how long your ladder line is, your dipole ladder line antenna connection may have a low feed point impedance or a medium or high feed point impedance and this will tranlate to the ladder line feed point impedance at the tuner end of high or medium or low impedance. The above circuit of type 1 is fine for high to medium impedance, but if you cannot acheive a good low swr, then try type 2 circuit or add or reduce the ladder line length.

I have found for the type 1 circuit, the link coupling coil can be wound over the top of the main coil, in the center, using simple PVC covered electrical cable, which means you do not have to split the main coil and this seems to work just a well and is therefor so much easier to construct.

It is always difficult to get a clear perspective of how big these trees are.

Below on the left is a view of the pine tree in the middle of my property which I often refer to as my main antenna support. 15 years ago I did often climb this 30m high tree to play with antennas. Now I am definitely not so crazy. On my last climb I did install 4 stainless steel yatching rope pullies at the top and now use big polyester ropes to lift up wires or wire rope supports, to do some of my experiments. These poly ropes have have survived the sun's UV rays well, for the past 15 years or so and hopefully will continue to do so, until this great tree gets cut down.

On the right is a picture of Australia's famous "Yellow Crested Cockatoo Bird", which is a native Australian bird and is unfortunately protected by the Australian government. It is a large bird and while it looks nice, it is a very distructive bird able to rip pine cones apart and pine tree branches and it generally causes great distruction and hardship to the farmers and of course to Amateur Radio antennas and coaxial cable, etc. As far as I am concerned it is a pest. It's bird song is more like a "Screech" and is very un-pleasant, especiall when there is a flock of 100 or more birds all screeching together.

My next antenna experiment will be a 3 element fixed wire yagi for the 40m and 80m bands, reversable direction, about 60 ft high, pointing a bit north of due east or south of west. This idea was inspired by Chuck K9RM, who at one time had a 20 element yagi for the 40m band pointing to VK and by Fern VE2ZV, who did tell me of his reverse direction system.

If this proves effective at my QTH, then I have space for another fixed yagi pointing a little north of due west, which will be good for Europe or in the reverse direction to South Africa.

This project is at this time half complete and I now wait for my next summer season with good weather and time and energy, to complete this project.

Such a project is limited to having big trees that do not move in the wind and which are in a useful direction.

At this time. I have five antenna projects, all about half complete and who knows when I will get any of them finished, as I am often away for long periods due to work..

I am mainly interested in "Low band DX'ing", contesting and I am also sometimes on Echolink.

In this town called Cockatoo, we have many Cockatoo birds (which cause some problems with our wires) and many other birds, but NO kangaroos.

In the year 2001, I spent 3 months working in Papua New Guinea and had the call sign of P29IO and a great time on the bands, about 6000 qso's. I do not think I will ever return, as the captial city of Port Moresby is too wild and scary (dangerous), I think and from waht I hear of recent imes, has not improved.

Because of my wire antennas, I spend most of my activity on 30, 40, 80 and 160 on cw and ssb. Of recent times, I really love the 30m & 17m bands, as they are so quiet for qrn and mostly no qrm and I have had qso's with so many callers I have never met before and many who use qrp or indoor antennas, which is such a great challenge and acheivement for them.

Prior to June, 1988, my call was VK3BEE.

Since 2005, I have spent many months in the P.R. of China (going for one or two months per trip and so more than 40 months in total) and have made many new friends in many different cities there and have found the Amateur Radio hobby is growing fast there. So if you don't hear me on the bands, then it is probably because I am working away again in China or country Australia.

Unfortunately, at this time, you cannot get a recipical licence in China and up until recently you could only get a radio operating permit (see http://www.crac.org.cn) from the Chinese Radio amateurs Club, which did allow you only to operate at a club station or at someones home, supervised by an existing Chinese call holder.

Hope to catch you on 160 (Top Band) soon.

Thank you for reading my biography, which was updated on March 28, 2016.

73's Ron.


7199245 Last modified: 2016-03-28 11:48:13, 12007 bytes

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