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Locating significant Australian Amateur Radio equipment

Date : 04 / 01 / 2018
Author : Jim Linton - VK3PC

The WIA Historical Archives Committee has received inquiries over the past few years about the availability of historical radio equipment for viewing and photography. Some important collections are held by individuals, clubs, and of course, public museums around Australia.

The number of inquiries has encouraged preparation of a rudimentary database of known significant collections. WIA Historian Peter Wolfenden VK3RV says initially sought is information about publically accessible collections. They don’t have to be major public collections such as the Sydney Power House Museum or the Melbourne Science Museum. However, most of their collections are not on public exhibition, and often difficult to access.

Max Howden’s 1924-25 record breaking shortwave receiver and Gil Miles’ early television experiments from the 1920s, are occasionally displayed at the Melbourne Science Museum.

The Australian War Memorial in Canberra permanently displays Winnie the War Winner, the famous transmitter used to raise help by isolated army personnel.

Community or Private Museums such as Ian O’Toole’s VK2ZIO, Kurrajong Radio Museum, just out of Sydney, or the Mareeba Heritage Centre in the Queensland are two very good examples of museums with readily accessible significant items. The Kurrajong Radio Museum has an extensive wireless, radio and broadcasting collection including some WWI Australian Navy equipment made at what was Shaw’s Sydney Wireless Works.

Pre-WWI, amateur equipment can be seen at the Mareeba Heritage Centre. There is the complete 1913-14, home-made station of XQA, Marcus Brimms minus the interconnecting wires, battery and aerial. This station was closed down in 1914 under wartime requirements and the equipment was boxed up as instructed. This station was not re-assembled after the war and is now all on display in a glazed cabinet in the museum building. This is a ‘world class’ amateur radio collection made by an Australian amateur who resided in the district.

The WIA’s National Amateur Equipment Register welcomes input to WIA Archive via with WIA office.



 

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