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VK6VZ Australia flag Australia

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Ham Member Lookups: 18515


Grid OF88BC. QSL direct with self-addressed envelope and US$3. Sorry no International Reply Coupon (IRC) - Australian post offices often now do not recognise their use. 

I was first licensed in the United Kingdom as G3ZZD at the age of 16, after a couple of years as a short wave listener. My first station was a World War II National HRO MX and a hombrewed 1.8MHz AM/CW transmitter (8W DC input from a 5763 valve) made by my Uncle George. Later, a 3.5 - 28MHz 10W CW transmitter with a Geloso VFO was added, along with 144MHz AM equipment loaned by my friend Charles G8BYC. This entire station - see below - cost about 40 UK pounds and was funded by my job delivering newspapers.


After visiting Western Australia on holiday in 1987, I migrated here from north east London, UK, in April 1989. My father, 'Ozzie', who was a RAF navigator in World War II and learnt CW as part of his training in case the radio operator was killed or injured, decided to became a radio amateur so we could talk to each other over the air.  Dad passed his CW test first time at age 69 and became G0TYJ. We kept skeds on 14MHz SSB, along with his great friends, John G3DQY, Dave G0UAI and Mike EA5/M0AOM, from 1991 until shortly before he became a silent key in October 2010. 

My happiest radio memories are of talking to Dad on the long path, in his tiny wooden shack heated by a Kenwood TS830S and Collins 30L1 linear, with my mother Yvonne sitting beside him and laughing about family stuff, with Jon, Dave and Mike 'on the side'.

These days I operate from 1.8MHz to 28MHz, but my favourite band has always been 1.8MHz (the 'topband') and favourite mode of operating CW DXing.  I've always loved CW operation and belong to the First Class CW Operators Club (FOC # 1693). Iambic keying is mainly used but I also really enjoy using  my WW II vintage Vibroplex Lightning Bug. 

Currently I have about 236 DXCC countries confirmed on 1.8MHz, along with 38 zones and Worked All (USA) States from my present home in Western Australia. My teacher/elmer on 1.8MHz was Mike Bazley VK6HD (SK), whose encouragement and friendship I much miss. Luckily I have my good friend Phil Hartwell VK6GX to talk about all things low-frequency.

The picture at the very top of the page shows me operating from VY2ZM as part of a multi-operator team led by Jeff Briggs K1ZM in the 2004 CQ WW CW 160 Contest. This may sound strange but putting up Beverages in -25 degree temperatures with Jeff, Peter Hutter WW2Y and Rob Flory K2WI in snow was just about the most radio fun ever!

I also had a heap of fun back in 1999, helping George Taft W8UVZ, Charlie Summers W0YG and  Jerry Rosalius WB9Z, with their low-band orientated DXpedition to Cocos Keeling Islands (VK9YY) and Christmas Island (VK9XX).  Charlie and his wife Rita subsequently became 'honorary grand parents' to my two children. The picture below shows (left to right) Mike VK6HD, Lori XYL WB9Z, Jerry WB9Z, myself, George W8UVZ (of Battle Creek Special fame) and Charlie W0YG.


I have written widely on amateur radio since 1982, producing articles for a variety of magazines in Australia, the United Kingdom and the USA, many with my good friend Phil Harman VK6APH/VK6PH, in particular about antennas, propagation and software defined radio.

From 1983 to 1985 I edited the now defunct UK magazine 'Ham Radio Today, which was enormous fun but totally exhausting. Phil and I wrote the software defined radio section of the Radio Society of Great Britain's 'Radio Communication' handbook (9th, 10th and 11th editions).

Even though I love the possibilities of software defined radio and have run a High Performance Software Defined Radio (see http://openhpsdr.org) for a number of years, I am basically a 'retro' analogue radio bloke ('Igor' to Phil's 'Dr Frankenstein'). My current passions in this area the Ten Tec Corsair, Corsair II, Drake 2NT/2B and experimenting, renovating and modifying these great old radios. When it comes to radio, I still think there is so much fun to be had - and so little time to do it.

The core of my station for contesting and DXing is an Ten Tec Orion II, which is the best sounding and performing conventional superheterodyne-based radio with a DSP back-end that I have used. 

Living on half an acre in a semi-rural area I have room for some pretty good home-made antennas - inverted vee dipoles for 1.8MHz and 3.5MHz with their apexes at 27 metres (90 feet); a 2-element capacitively end-loaded Moxon yagi which is remotely tuned from the shack for 7MHz; and a 2-element delta loop beam (apex down) for 14, 18, 21 and 28MHz. The 2-element delta loop beam is nested inside the elements of the Moxon yagi on a single six-metre (19 foot) boom.

6 August 2016   




7488323 Last modified: 2016-08-06 10:47:29, 7412 bytes

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