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VK1MA Australia flag Australia

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Ham Member Lookups: 84078



Electronic: e-QSL and LOTW - my log is uploaded to eQSL, LOTW and Clublog usually on a weekly basis

Bureau: All cards received via the Bureau are replied to via the Bureau.

Direct: Requires a self addressed envelope and either a minimum US $2 or a valid IRC. QSL cards received not containing a self addressed envelope and US $2 or IRC will be replied to via the Bureau.

VK QSL's: QSL requests received from VK require only a stamped and self addressed envelope for a direct reply. Otherwise, cards will be replied to via the Bureau.

My interest in radios goes way back to when I was a kid with my first experience of amateur radio gained at a Scout Jamboree in the mid 80's which eventually lead to me gaining my amateur licence in 1995 and finally an upgrade to an advanced licence in 2007. My interests in the hobby are the ability to talk with mates both locally as well as around Australia and chasing a bit of DX when I get the time. I am intermittently active on most of the higher HF bands as well as locally on the VHF and UHF bands. I am occasionally active on 6m, 2m, 70cm and 23cm FM/SSB from a portable setup during field days. You may also hear me with my other call sign - VK8GMT on the unfortunately rare occasions that I head back to the Northern Territory (fantastic fishing and hunting with the propagation being so much better!). Oh and did I mention, the weather is MUCH warmer than Canberra during the winter!

SOTA (Summits On The Air) is also of interest to me with both chasing and activating summits an enjoyable activity taking up quite a bit of my radio time. I achieved "shack sloth" status as a chaser in July 2013 and also make the occasional peak activation when I am able to - at the rate I am going, I suspect that it will take me 10 years to achieve "Mountain Goat" status as an activator.

I have moved into my own house - gone are the days of rental woes of not being able to put up much in the way of antennas. My antenna farm is slowly growing. HF antennas consist of a 2 element Ultra Beam covering 40m-6m, a 40m dipole in an inverted Vee format, an 80m OCF dipole and a Gap-Titan multi band (80m-10m) vertical. My 5 element Yagi on 10m is now sitting on some bushes in the backyard awaiting future tower plans. The VHF/UHF antennas consists of a discone, a 12 element yagi on 2m (horizontal) and a Diamond X200 dual band vertical.

I am planning to put up a 45ft tower when I have completed some other projects although that will be reliant on gaining the appropriate local government approvals. Once the tower is up, the 2 element Ultra Beam covering 40m-6m, the 10m beam and maybe something for 6m/2m/70cm will go up there.

A Codan NGT and 9350 tuner have finally been installed in the mobile. So finally after over two and a half years without HF in the vehicle, I am mobile on HF again. Performance of this system is surprisingly good for local contacts in Eastern VK, but I would expect that the longer haul contacts would be somewhat more problematic. Interference generated by the car - I think the fuel pump / injectors mainly, but some from the electrical system (including the brakes) causes very high noise levels on the lower bands, but is fortunately minimal on 10m. More earthing of the various panels is necessary I fear.

QTH in VK3

I visit my parent's home in Melbourne (VK3) a couple of times each year where I am fortunate enough to be able to maintain a small antenna farm covering 80m to 70cm. Thanks parents, I will pay my roof space rent next time I am down by cleaning the leaf litter from the roof and gutters (I finally got cornered by father to do it 2 years ago, so probably time to do it again next time I am down there!). The location is poor for VHF and higher bands as it is almost at the bottom of a deep valley, with steep hills on three sides - therefore the need for the mast system as per the image below. Current antennas at the VK3 QTH are:

  • 80/40m - dipole (two sets of wires on the same balun and spaced 50 cm apart)
  • 20m - inverted "Vee"
  • 10m - half wave vertical (approx 14 metres above ground)
  • 6m - horizontal dipole (approx 12 metres above ground)
  • Comet GP15 - 6m/2m/70cm vertical (approx 15 metres above ground)
  • High Gain 2m/70cm vertical (Diamond X-510 knockoff - approx 18 metres above ground)

Antennas at my VK3 QTH - yes a real tangle of metal in the sky with a variety of wire antennas and multiple guy wires, but no observed interaction, so I guess that I have been lucky. Unfortunately a recent trip down to VK3 saw the tower being removed, so there is no longer a 2m yagi or 6m quad in the lineup. As I am not down there very often I fear the antenna farm will shrink as the parents re-possess the roof space.

The image below is of the COMAN multi band vertical I was using at a previous QTH in VK2 - it covers 80/40/20/15/10m and is an excellent performer for a multi band antenna. I ran four quarter wave length radials per band from 40m up - with a small backyard radials for 80m were not practical. With a tuner it worked OK on the WARC bands as well - certainly not a standout performer, but it worked reasonably well.

I picked up a secondhand spiderbeam at a reasonable price so I put it together to trial it when I was at a previous QTH on the South Coast of VK2. The antenna was mounted on top of a 6m long aluminium pipe which was fastened to a star picket in the backyard to form a very temporary mounting - and used the armstrong method for direction control. The intention for this antenna is that it will be mainly used for portable activities (my favourite).




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