Reg Galle VK5QR - SK
All those interested in long distance VHF/UHF/microwave propagation will be saddened to hear of the death of Reg Galle VK5QR on September 11. Reg was a leading pioneer of the use of these amateur radio bands.
Wally Howse - VK6KZ
On 31 December 1951, Reg made a 144 MHz Australian record distance of 2122 Km with a contact with the late Rolo Everingham VK6BO in Perth (just short of the then world record of 2 253 Km). He then continued to seek answers to questions regarding the propagation of the higher bands.
Reg became the Adelaide end of record breaking distances on 432, 1296, 2304 and 3456 MHz across the Great Australian Bight with Wally Green VK6WG in Albany.
Reg and Wally, as true amateurs with no professional engineering backgrounds, built equipment for these UHF/microwave bands and were nearly 2 000 Km apart so that there were no “local” tests with each other. There were no precedents in Australia, and few in the world, for trying to make contacts over this distance.
In 1977, they bridged the 1296 MHz path on 25 January for a world record distance of 1885 Km.
The following year, on 17 February 1978, Reg and Wally made their first contact on the 2304 MHz band. Reg used SSB that was processed in a divide by 6 circuit and mixed to 28 MHz. The 28 MHz signal, with processed SSB, was then transverted to 384 MHz and then tripled and doubled to 2304 MHz. This multiplication by 6 restored the original SSB!
To give you a feel of the type of gear in use 30 years ago, Wally Green VK6WG used a modified World War II SCR522 which, from a 7 MHz crystal, produced 128 MHz. This was then multiplied to 384 MHz with a BAY96 varactor tripler to 1152 MHz in a modified Microwave Modules MMV1296 transverter, and then doubled in by a 2C39 which drew 90mA at 600V.
In 1986, Reg and Wally completed their first 3456 MHz contact using CW. This distance of 1885 Km and that on 2304 MHz remain the Australian record distances.
Both Wally and Reg built equipment for the 5.7 GHz band and made tests on that band without success, although Reg claimed that they could have had a contact had Wally not been in the midst of making apricot jam on that day!
Reg gradually lost interest in pushing the boundaries further and has been in poor health in recent years. His death followed several strokes. The most recent one returned him to hospital just over a week ago but he insisted that he wanted to go home despite living alone and with no close relatives in Adelaide. A nurse watched over him and he was able to fulfil his wish of dying at home in his own bed! Reg was 96 years old.
Farewell to a tremendous pioneer on the higher bands!
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