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2009 Magazines

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Amateur Radio September 2009

Delivery expected from September 2


A wild windy day

One benefit of being Editor is that I can submit my editorial quite late in the production process. All things work related are still full on, so I had little inspiration about what I would write for September.

I needed to take a day off work to attend a medical appointment in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. The drive from Churchill started out well, but as I progressed down the highway the wind speed increased. The radio weather reports were warning of very high winds and of various incidents of damage.

After seeing the doctor, I took the opportunity to drop in to the WIA office to pick up some material for PubCom that had arrived by mail and to have a short chat with the staff.

It was time for some lunch and I joined the group that meet weekly at the Knox Club, thanks to a heads up from Robert VK3DN. There was lots of interesting discussion, ranging from radio topics to the joys of following the instructions given by an in-car GPS navigation system. The lunch was much more enjoyable than I would have had if I had not joined them – thanks everyone.

After a couple of shopping stops, I headed home later in the afternoon. The weather was still rather wild, but less fierce than earlier. Apart from the usual traffic issues, the return trip was uneventful.

Given the radio news reports of wind damage, I decided to have a quick look in the back yard as soon as I arrived home, just on dark. In the dull light, I noticed a branch from the neighbour’s tree had fallen into my yard, but without causing any damage. My short mast – a six metre length of aluminium fixed at ground level and at the top of the house – obviously had a big enough array mounted on it: the mast had snapped at the top bracing point. Oh well, it was put up over ten years ago as a “temporary” measure when I wanted to become active from home on 2.4 GHz.

On the mast were a mid-sized “gridpack” dish (ex-Pay TV service) for 2.4 GHz, a 10 element 70 cm Yagi and a 5 element 2 m Yagi, with both Yagis mounted for vertical polarisation. The dish is now far from parabolic, a writeoff.

The 70 cm Yagi is now only five elements – the boom snapped at the mast-boom attachment point. The two metre Yagi will still be usable after straightening a couple of elements and replacing the front director, which was broken in the fall. The antennas were on an azimuth and elevation rotator system.

So I will need to think about how to erect a new mast. I will also need to consider what replacement antennas I will need…

Offence taken

Earlier in the week I received a letter from a reader in WA. Whilst I have his permission to use the letter, I will not identify the writer.

Our VK6 correspondent took offence at a small comment made by Robin VK7RH in his August column:
“….. event in North America quickly dominated the news, relegating the news in Iran to the back pages. And what was that event? The unexpected death of Michael Jackson in California. This rapidly took over and pushed out everything. In my opinion it was not news nor earth-shattering.”
I respect the opinions of both Robin and our VK6 reader. Robin simply stated some facts and expressed his opinion about the way the media dropped many news issues and gave a large amount of attention to Mr Jackson’s death.

The way I read the comment both then and now was that it was primarily a comment on the behaviour of the media. Our VK6 reader considers that Robin’s remarks were “insensitive”. I can appreciate that many might agree with this view. But perhaps all might reflect on the entire situation and both Robin’s comment and my interpretation?

I do apologise for any offence taken, on behalf of myself as Editor and for Robin (who has not yet had a chance to comment on the letter).


Peter VK3KAI

Cover photo

Working the high point of radio in Australia. Compton VK2HRX on 2 metres, with Taylor VK2FTEC as rotator, operating at 2229 metres altitude from Mt Kosciusko. But they were not alone on a very busy Easter weekend.

Table Of Contents


Sods Law R Johnson VK5ZRJ
VK2HRX/p Mt Kosciusko summit, Easter 2009 Compton Allen VK2HRX
Steam radio goes mobile Arthur Greaves VK3FBEE


A phasing type transceiver for 144 MHz - Part 2 Dale Hughes VK1DSH
Line Balance Meter discussion Rod Reynolds VK3AAR
Getting started on 136 kHz Drew Diamond VK3XU
The two metre J-pole (Foundation Corner One) Ross Pittard VK3CE
Some adventures in antennas Peter Carter VK3AUO
IEC plugs and sockets – an EMI filter adapter Lyle Whyatt VK5WL

VK2HRX/p Mt Kosciusko summit, Easter 2009

Compton Allen VK2HRX

The author visited Mt Kosciusko with other members of his family, and decided to spend some time operating both VHF and HF from the summit.

He tells us, in broad terms, his plans for this adventure, how he went about achieving the goals he had set himself, and what, perhaps, he could do better next time he found himself with a similar opportunity.

An interesting read about something each one of us could do in many of our varied journeys, in most instances with very little trouble. If only we would!

Steam radio goes mobile

Arthur Greaves VK3FBEE

The author details a brief record of this scout get together, where the focus was solely on the amateur radio hobby in many of its various areas of interest, but where the expectation was also that all the participants would have fun.

From all accounts, and certainly supported by the two accompanying photos, this was well achieved.

A nice short story of amateur radio interfacing with young adults.

Getting started on 136 kHz

Drew Diamond VK3XU

The author, Drew Diamond, is Australia’s most prolific amateur radio author, writing as he has about a huge variety of topics within the amateur radio area of interest.

This latest effort, on how to get started on the newly available low frequency band of 136 kHz, follows his usual meticulous way of describing what he is attempting to achieve, how he goes about it, and with plenty of advice on how you yourself can achieve the same high performance results, with just a little care and attention to detail.

This new band (to VK amateurs, at least) will undoubtedly attract a significant amount of interest, and this article would be a useful starting point for amateurs of all technical levels to begin the quest into this latest area of amateur interest.

As usual, highly recommended reading.

The two metre J-pole (Foundation Corner One)

Ross Pittard VK3CE

This is the first of a series of articles directed toward Amateur Radio’s many Foundation licensees, and features the design, construction and build of a two metre vertical antenna, the ubiquitous J-pole.

Very basic in content, but readily understandable, and of genuine interest to all who aspire to operate on the two metre band, and require a simple, easily constructed antenna to do so.

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