Hello all from Cockatoo, Melbourne, Australia.
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 a paddock which I use or antenna work, but it is a forrest of trees and plants, which make for a
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),
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 6 element fixed wire yagi for the 40m band about 60 ft high, pointing a bit north of due east. This idea was inspired by Chuck K9RM, who at one time had a 20 element yagi for the 40m band pointing to VK. If this proves effective at my QTH then I have space for maybe a 3 or 4 element fixed wire yagi pointing a little north of due west, which will be good for Europe. 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.
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 met so many callers I have never met before and many who use qrp or indoor antennas.
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 away again in China.
Unfortunately, at this time, you cannot get a recipical licence in China and so you must obtain a radio operating permit (from the Chinese Radio Sports Association, CRSA), which allows 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 January 20, 2013.
Last modified: 2013-01-20 05:50:05, 10104 bytes cached
This user has no active logs
Does this page contain inappropriate content? If so, Report this page...