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G'Day from Downunder,

VK4FI is a Advanced Class (Full Call) amateur radio station operated by Steven Dudley. I was first licenced as Amateur Radio Operator in 2010. In that year I gained my Foundation Amateur Radio Licence and was issued the call VK4FSRD. I was a late stater to Amateur gaining my first licence at 49, however, I have been involved in Radio and Communications since I first got the bug back the the early days of CB radio in Australia in 1977.

I was on CB for a number of years and then in 1984 I enlisted in the Australian Army and was allocated to the Royal Australian Signals Corps. I served in a number of locations within Australia and Overseas during my 24 plus years of  service in the Corps. I finished my fulltime military career as a Warrant Officer Class Two, Information Systems Manager in July 2008. I am still serving at the same rank and position as a Reserve Soldier (part-time).

I did plan on studying for a Amateur Licence back in the 1970's but work and personal life was more important, so it was only in 2010, that I again got the bug and decided that I needed to do something about getting a licence. So within 4 weeks of deciding that the time was right, I had done some quick study of the current regulations and sat the exam. I passed and was licenced as vk4fi.

In 2017 after 6 odd years a a F Call licence holder I thought it was about time that I upgraded and started playing with all the digital modes and open the horizons on new bands and a little more power. I started studying to upgrade and in the process I spoke to a local operator in Toowoomba (VK4TJ - John) who told me the cheapest option to a full call was to sit a US General Grade licence and then apply for a Australian Full call via the reciprocal licence agreement. I looked at this and decided that indeed John was correct and this was by far the cheapest option. I figured I could better spend my money on Antennas and Radios then on the exam fee.

So on the 25th March 2017, with a few more hopefuls, I sat the US Technician Exam, gaining 91%. And then during the same morning sat the US General Exam, again getting 91%. It was then just a matter of waiting for the paperwork to process and for the licence to appear on the FCC database. On the 10th April 2017, KI7MMT appeared on the FCC database and became my call. I then applied for a US vanity Call and was granted KS7EVE. On the 12th April 2017 I applied to the WIA for the Full Call (Advanced) Licence by way of the reciprocal licence agreement. On the 19th April 2017 I was informed by the WIA that they had recommended to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) that I be granted a Licence and the Callsign VK4FI. On the 09 May 2017, the licence appeared on the ACMA website. 

I have now approached the WIA and requested Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for an Amature Operator's Certificate of Proficiency - Advanced (AOCP -A), given the many years of Radio and Electronics training I received as a member of the Royal Australian Corps of Signals over the last 3 decades. I submitted the application and was successful in being granted RPL for Advanced Theory and Practical on WIA RPL application 17006. All I was required to do was sit the Regulations assessment which I did on the 22 Aug 17. Ron (VK2DQ) administered the exam remotely with the assistance of a Commissioned Military Officer, from my place of work, who acted as the local scrutinizer. I was successful in this assessment and it was then just a waiting game until all the paperwork was submitted and processed by the WIA. On the 27 Sep 17, my bright new AOCP-A certificate number 5588 issued 5 September 2017 arrived. At the same time I also applied and was granted WIA assessor status on certificate 4-076, which enables me to conduct assessments for the 3 classes of licence available in Australia. This is in addition to my recognition by the ARRL as a being a Registered Licence Instructor and an Volunteer Examiner, which allows me to contact assessments for US class licences up to my General Class qualification.    


I am married to Sharan, we were married in 1985 and have 4 adult children. Our oldest Daughter and youngest Son are living in Toowoomba, a short drive from our QTH, we have a son living in Brisbane about a 2 hour drive from the QTH and our youngest Daughter is living the dream by living and working in London - UK, a short 24 hour plane ride from the QTH. 

73 de Steve




March 2017



June 2014

Where I live.......

Highfields, a rural town of 8012 people (2011 Census), is on the outskirts of metropolitan Toowoomba, 12 km north of the city's centre. It was probably named after a Highfields pastoral run, north of where the township was formed. The area was originally know by the local Indigenous name of Koojarewon.

The well-timbered Highfields area attracted timber-getters and by the 1860s there were numerous sawmills operating in the district. The passage of the Lands Act 1868 attracted further settlement, as did the 1867 completion of a narrow gauge railway line from Toowoomba to Ipswich, ascending the main range through Highfields to Murphy's Creek. Many of the rail workers remained in the Highfields district once the line was complete. The railway transported timber, and shortly afterwards dairy produce from the farm selections taken up on the cleared hills.

Highfields village began in the 1870s with a school (1870) and a Lutheran church (1879). The post office directory (1924) recorded the Highfields store, the Range View Hotel and a white steepled Lutheran church (1907). About half the farm families had German names.

The main township in the area was Carbarlah (north of Highfields), and its court house became administrative offices of the Highfields local-government division (proclaimed 1879). From 1883 Cabarlah enjoyed a short-lived status as a regional railhead when the second rail line extending from Toowoomba terminated at the town, prior to its extension to Crows Nest three years later.

The 1879 Divisional Board was proclaimed as Highfields Shire in 1903, and was impressive in its area. It extended northwards from the outskirts of Toowoomba nearly to Cooyar, approximating an area of 700 sq miles. In 1913 it was reduced with the severance of the newly formed Crows Nest Shire, more than halving Highfields Shire's population. A decline in timbering and dairying inflicted further population losses, to a postwar figure of about 1700 people.


Highfields Shire, amalgamated with Crows Nest Shire in March 1949.

While the original shire may have declined and disappeared, the township of Highfields has experienced considerable urbanisation, developing as a satellite community of Toowoomba. In 1991 Highfields' population overtook that of Crows Nest, and during the next ten years grew almost threefold, comprising over one-third of the entire Crows Nest Shire population by 2001. Subdivision of former dairy properties has resulted in considerable rural-residential, and ancillary development; a drive-in shopping centre and indoor sports centre were opened in 2003-04.

Highfields has a comprehensive shopping centre, a cultural centre, a pioneer village, a swimming pool and other recreation facilities, a primary school, Toowoomba Christian College (1979), and a Catholic primary school (2003).




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World Continents Award#15663
Granted: 2016-10-27 19:20:02   (VK4FSRD)

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