The One-Hundredth Birthday Celebration for Alf VK3LC
Michael Owen - VK3KI
The following is the speech given by Michael VK3KI at the 100 th at the party.
"This is a very special occasion. We celebrate the one-hundredth birthday of our friend Alf Chandler. That in itself is enough to make the occasion special. Most of here know Alf as VK3LC, because he is a radio amateur. That is another reason to that makes today special. We honour a friend whose lifelong interest has been radio. Today, when radio is just taken for granted it is extraordinary to remember how short is the history of radio, and how in Alf we have someone whose life virtually spans the history of his interest, radio.
Let me illustrate that this way.
It was less than 3 years before Alf was born that on December 12, 1901 that Marconi set up his station at the old Barracks of Signal Hill at the mouth of the harbour at St John’s Newfoundland and made radio contact with his station at Poldhu, in Cornwall, England, the first trans Atlantic communication without wires.
By 1920, when Alf was 15 and making a crystal set at Scotch College (I am told he is now the oldest Scotch “Old Boy”) Al Shawsmith VK4SS reports in his book Halcyon Days that Tom Elliot built station 4CM, transmitting the first Medium Wave sound broadcast in Brisbane, while in Melbourne a broadcasting program was transmitted to both Houses of the Federal Parliament in Queen’s Hall, Melbourne, from the home of AWA’s Victorian manager and the amateurs of world were discovering “short waves” and truly long distance communications.
By 1926, when Alf was first licensed as OA3WH the International Amateur Radio Union, the IARU had been formed for less than a year at a meeting in Paris, and by 1929 there were 14 national member societies of the IARU, including the Wireless Institute of Australia.
Alf has always been a supporter of the Wireless Institute of Australia, the oldest national radio society in the world, formed when he was only about 6, not quite as old as Alf.
Between 1963 and 1970 Alf was a member of the WIA Publications Committee, the group that puts together every month the WIA journal, Amateur Radio, and taking important responsibilities.
In 1967 Alf took on the role of WIA Intruder Watch Coordinator, first for Victoria, later Federally and then from 1975 to 1982 as Intruder Watch Co-ordinator for IARU Region 3, the international organisation part of the IARU stretching from the middles east, across the Indian sub continent, covering China, Asia and the Pacific.
Let may say a word about the amateur Intruder Watch program. It’s purpose is to discourage and remove stations that are not amateur stations from those parts of the radio spectrum that are allocated exclusively to amateurs. Because, in the end, only a country can stop a station transmitting in its Territory without regard to the international tables of allocations, it is a slow and often unrewarding task.
It requires skill to identify the intruder and patience to persist when there is not much response to the report, with the knowledge that what you are doing may at least discourage some stations from transmitting on the small and vulnerable amateur HF bands.
And Alf has both the skill and the patience.
In 1978 he WIA awarded him the second Ron Wilkinson Achievement award for what he did in these Intruder Watch activities.
At the first WIA Annual General Meeting in Canberra on 7 May this year as a truly single and national organisation, following the restructuring of the WIA on 16 May 2004, the meeting passed one motion only that was not formal, and that motion was to unanimously endorse the nomination by the Board of Alf Chandler, VK3LC as an Honorary Life Member of the WIA, one of the WIA’s highest awards to recognise the special services rendered to the WIA and Amateur Radio by an individual.
I have great pleasure in presenting you, Alf, with the certificate and the Life Members badge, honouring your contribution to the WIA and to amateur radio."
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