G'day Everyone. Wherever you may be on planet Earth, Welcome to
this Australian Amateur Radio website. VK5SW.com
My name is Rob and
I was fully licensed in 1970 when I was 19. My age is now 69. The
radio shown above, with the cover removed, was the Yaesu Musen FT200 which in the USA was called the Tempo
One, I think. I remember that I took out my first bank loan to buy it.
Along side of it, can be seen a small 3 inch Oscilloscope which I had
built. When I left high school, I went to the Institute of Technology
and started a course in Electronics Engineering but it soon became clear
to me that I couldn't concentrate well enough to pass exams. So, I left
and worked in a Bank for six months after which it was obvious that I
was not suited to it and gladly left that place of employment. I
then applied to undertake an apprenticeship at the Dept. of Defence (WRE)
as a Radio Tradesman. I was told that my age of 19 at the time, was
really too old, but they took me on regardless. After a year and a half,
due to mental illness, eventually I reluctantly had to resign. While
being employed there, I passed my full Amateur Radio license. Since
then, most of my working life has been spent building 'Brush fences'
which, mostly I enjoyed, mainly because I like the outdoor life. My Dad
did this kind of work most of his life too. He initially taught me the game. The
chaps whom I worked for were terrific and allowed me a lot of
flexibility. We were and still are good mates. I retired about seven years ago.
As a young
person, I used to rifle through our local rubbish tip with my friend 'Lee' who
lived across the road from us, looking for discarded radios and
electronic bits and pieces. An old short wave radio, found at the tip,
was eventually pressed into service with the addition of a beat
frequency oscillator, 'bfo', which enabled me to listen to Radio Hams
talking to each other. By slowly turning a shortened plastic knitting
needle protruding from an IF can, the single sideband signals were able
to be resolved. It was very exciting in those days to tune into a Ham
Radio operator from overseas. I asked myself - 'how does the radio
signal get here?' With my interest kindled, I pursued the hobby and have
now been a Ham for 50 years. A book, which I borrowed from my
high school library at the time, called 'Adventures in Electronics' also
inspired me. While in my teenage years and beyond, I built many
electronic circuits including short wave radio receivers, CW
transmitters, the CRO, a gdo, audio amplifiers and many other circuits which
I felt to be useful at the time.
These days I really like building website pages and I hope
that you find some of the pages on this website to your liking. It would be about
10 or 11 years ago
now, I think, when the brother in law, 'Garry', of my very good and long term
friend, 'Lisette' gave me a computer program called 'Front Page' by Microsoft,
which enables the creation of website pages. With no idea of what I was doing, I
played around with it and found out quickly that I liked trying to improve the
page that I was working on. Some 10 years or so later, I quite often find my mind
working unconsciously on the current page as I may be reading a book, for
example, and an idea will butt in, and suggest to me a way of improving the page. I then come into this computer room, after having put
the book down, and implement the idea. It nearly always improves the page, in my
opinion. At first the website pages which I made were very basic, usually a
little text and a picture. For example, here is a front page made in 2010
and another in 2014. Click
here. But as time went on, they appeared to me to be better than they
used to be. Click here. So, I kept building pages and now this current website is the latest
version. The reason I have spent so much effort in building this website is
because I enjoy doing it so much. I like the creativity of using my imagination
and being able to 'put it into a website page' with the idea of adding enjoyment for
others to it too. The background pictures on the various pages are meant to
create an appropriate atmosphere and feeling. I hope I have done a good job of
that. It would be good if you rated the pages to let me know. This website is
simply the correction of thousands of mistakes. I knew nothing of building a
website but wanted to do it so in order for the site to improve, I had to
correct the mistakes I was making as there was no other way for me to go. I
didn't want to read about building websites. I just wanted to set about doing
it. So, for example, if I wanted to place an image at a certain place on a page,
I would try doing it and then when that didn't work properly, I would try
something else until the desired result was attained. So, this website is the
accumulation of the correction of thousands and thousands of mistakes. Perseverance and will power are needed
to create a good result. In my case I have found that it is often the pushing
yourself when you feel tired and don't want to go on, that eventually deliver
the results that You want. You could say that this is the process of potential becoming actuality. I also like to think
of this as 'Creation' and 'Correction.' I call it 'CC.'
HF Radio waves travel at about the speed of light,186,000
miles per second. So, radio communication here on earth is basically
instantaneous. When I think of the physical distances involved when having a
conversation with you in say, North America from here in Australia, the fact that our voices are heard
by each other as they are spoken, seems incredible to me. Hardly any time delay
at all, even though the distance between us may be 15,000 miles, on the long way
around the world, for example. Radio
signals can take up to about 20 minutes to reach Mars, depending on our relative
locations in space, which changes in time. As our
reach throughout the Universe expands, our reliance on radio communications will
be forever more critical. Without expansion, I don't think that we would be able
to 'find our place in the Universe.' And without that wider awareness, I don't
think that we can advance, neither personally nor collectively. With a more expansive
and less constrictive outlook, and a feeling of greater insignificance in the
scheme of things, I think
would come a greater willingness of countries around the world to work together and expand our
collective reach and capabilities. We
might, possibly, begin to leave conflict behind. I have used some of the
background pictures on this website to bring to mind the fact that we are on one
planet, only one of the innumerable out there.
An old 'ZL special' antenna that I used in the old days. To the left, can be
rotatable 15Mx dipole above my Ham Shack. That's 'Mitzie', our pet dog in the
Eventually my brother in law 'Greg' and I put up a multiband HF Cubical Quad
antenna (fiber glass spreaders) on a windmill tower. In those days, I spotted an
old windmill tower in a paddock not
far from home. So, I asked the owner if I could have it. I can't remember if I
paid for it or not. Greg had a ute (open tray) on which we placed the 20
foot tower and brought it home. The Quad antenna was hoisted on a pole through
the tower to a height of 33ft.The Quad antenna changed everything. Stations
were able to be worked comfortably around the world. I was quite often on the
radio then, into the wee hours. Eventually, about 12 years ago, I guess, we
the antennas and I took the tower up to the property on (Hague's) my friend's
long trailer. A new 'Cubex Quad' antenna was installed up there, also at a
height of 33 feet.
The assembly and installation of the new Quad and tower can be seen on my
My original shack at my Parents' place. The tower supported a home brew HF
spider Quad made with fibre glass spreaders.
Rob, VK5SW in the shack. 1987. That radio was the IC-735.
In those days I used to talk to a lot of
Japanese Amateurs, hence the map of Japan on the wall behind me. Commodore 64 in the foreground which was used on RTTY.
Painted egg cartons on the
ceiling. They were supposed to dampen and reduce the echo effect. I think the
radios shown are the TS140S and a TS950 or TS940. In the old days, I also
worked Radio Teletype, RTTY,
by learning to type the messages and sending them via radio communications. The
mechanical teleprinter which I used was a Creed 7B. Below.
As a matter of fact, I was talking to an Amateur a couple of months ago on
14Mhz. Jan. 2020. He was located in the
States but had shifted there from N.S.W.
Australia about 7 years ago when he retired. His XYL was originally from the
USA. His name was Gerry but I can't remember his callsign.
He looked up his log book and found that he and I had had a 'contact' in
1978 using RTTY. He said that we were both using Creed 7B's at the time.
I remember that the teleprinter was always breaking down so
that the cover
often left off of the machine.
Being mechanical machines, they were very noisy and I just about always,
think, I had to use headphones to dampen the noise. It was good fun though,
although typing was a challenge in those days. Nowadays, there are so many more
digital modes using computers.
Not sure, but probably 50 or so. We eventually gave the mechanical machines away
and turned our attention towards electronic devices for use on radio teletype.
At that time in my case, the VIC 20 and Commodore 64.
7B Cover removed