A Wonderful Old Timer
Grand lady operator, Mavis Stafford VK3KS has been a radio amateur for 70 years and a luncheon this weekend in Melbourne was held in her honour. The occasion was organised by the Australian Ladies Amateur Radio Association, which she has actively supported since its formation in 1975.
Jim Linton - VK3PC
The Mavis story begins in a small farming settlement of Lallat North in Victoria’s Wimmera district when a school teacher Ivor VK3XB boarded at her parent’s home. The young man set up a battery powered rig in his lodgings much to the interest of Mavis’ brother Artie who started studying for his licence, but soon had to leave the farm to find work. Mavis at this time had quietly learnt the Morse code and with some study under Ivor’s guidance passed her licence test on 30 May 1939 to be issued the callsign VK3KS on 6 June in that year. Within three months she had made 110 contacts using crystal controlled rig with 3-watts output, before World War II brought an end to amateur radio activity.
In 1943 Mavis married Ivor Stafford. With the resumption of amateur radio after the war the couple continued to share the enjoyment of the hobby, both being fine CW operators who also enjoyed Phone. Eventually they relocated to Box Hill in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs and were proud to have a shared OM and XYL QSL card. Ivor was a fine gentleman and his contributions included that of being the WIA Victoria Outwards QSL Officer, ably assisted by Mavis. He passed away in 1999.
Mavis has won a large number of contest awards. With Ivor they were stalwarts of the BERU Commonwealth Contest over decades. In 1966 Mavis became one of the few ladies in the invitation-only First Class CW Operators’ Club. She was one of the early members of ALARA that helped establish the organisation which encourages females to become radio amateurs. Many of its new members in the past three years have entered the hobby through the Foundation Licence.
As the ALARA Historian, and with assistance from Ivor she produced the organisation’s history for 1975-89. Mavis held many an ALARA meeting at the Stafford home and she was also the Award Custodian. ALARA bestowed her Honorary Life Membership in 1983.
Mavis was pleased to see so many friends and newcomers to amateur radio at the luncheon. WIA President Michael Owen VK3KI praised her contributions and presented her with a framed WIA President’s Commendation. ALARA Vice President Marilyn Syme VK3DMS talked about the voluntary work of Mavis and her support of others, before presenting an ALARA plaque marking her 70th anniversary.
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