G'day Everyone. Wherever you may be on planet Earth, Welcome to this Australian Amateur Radio website.  vk5sw.com


My name is Rob and I was fully licensed in 1970 when I was 19. My age is now 68. As a young person, I used to rifle through rubbish tips with my friend 'Lee' who lived across the road from us, looking for discarded radios and electronic bits and pieces. An old short wave radio, found at the tip, was eventually pressed into service with the addition of a beat frequency oscillator which enabled me to listen to Radio Hams talking to each other. By slowly turning a shortened plastic knitting needle protruding from an IF can, the single sideband signals were able to be resolved. It was very exciting in those days to tune into a Ham Radio operator from overseas. I asked myself - 'how does the radio signal get here?' With my interest kindled, I pursued the hobby and have now been a Ham for 49 years.

I really like building website pages and I hope that you find some of the pages on this website to your liking. it would be about 9 years ago now, I think, when 'Lisette', my friend's brother in law, 'Garry', gave me a computer program called 'Front Page', which enables you to create website pages. With no idea of what I was doing, I played around with it and found out quickly that I liked trying to improve the page that I was working on. Some 9 years later, I find my mind working unconsciously on the current page as I may be reading a book, for example, and an idea will butt in, and suggest to me a way to improve the page. I then come into this computer room, after having put the book down, and implement the idea. It nearly always improves the page, in my opinion. At first the website pages which I made were very basic, usually a little text and a picture. But as time went on, they appeared to me to becoming better than they used to be. So, I kept building pages and now this current website is the latest version. The reason I have spent so much effort in building this website is because I enjoy it so much. I like the capability of using my imagination and being able to 'put it into a page' with the idea of adding enjoyment for others to it, one way or the other. The background pictures on the various pages are meant to create an appropriate atmosphere and feeling. I hope I have done a good job of that. Please rate any of the pages if you would like to.

HF Radio waves travel at about the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second. So, radio communication here on earth is basically instantaneous. When I think of the physical distances involved when having a conversation with you in say, North America from here in Australia, the fact that our voices are heard by each other as they are spoken, seems incredible to me. Hardly any time delay at all, even though the distance between us may be 15,000 miles, on the long way around the world, for example. Radio signals can take about 20 minutes to reach Mars, depending on our relative locations in space, which changes in time. As our reach throughout the Universe increases, our reliance on radio communications will be forever more demanded. Without expansion, I don't think that we would be able to 'find our place in the Universe.' And without that awareness, I don't think that we can advance, neither personally nor collectively. With a more expansive and less constrictive outlook, and a feeling of greater insignificance in the scheme of things, I think would come a greater willingness to work together and expand our reach. We might, possibly, begin to leave conflict behind. I think that radio communication is that vital to our well being. I have used some of the background pictures on this website to bring to mind the fact that we are on one planet, only one of the innumerable out there.

Ham Radio is a great hobby and my hope is that this website goes some way towards promoting it. I feel that building this website is the best way for me to contribute to the hobby and possibly, 'leave a little of me behind'. Amateur Radio has been a terrific friend for me for almost 50 years now. Without it, I doubt that my life would have been as enjoyable. Radio communication for me and many others is a wonder and an exciting phenomenon founded upon natural, scientific laws. As our reach throughout the Universe expands, so will our reliance on radio communication become ever more important. This hobby can lead you to an exciting career in this forever evolving field of electronics and communications. Whether new to Amateur Radio or not, this website has been built to introduce you to AR or help you, and me, for that matter, and hopefully inspire you. Information can be found here about setting up a solar powered Ham Radio station, remotely controlling your station, constructing a 20 foot tower, putting together a Cubex quad antenna as well as building vee beam, ground plane and loop antennas. You may find the Interactive World Clock useful and you can also view videos and download Ham Radio Wallpaper. 'Amateur Radio Clip Art', 'Amateur Radio Signs', 'Armed Forces' 'DX Locations and Times' and the biography, 'VK5SW' are the latest pages to this website. The VK3MO page gives information about 'Ian', an inspiring Australian Amateur. You may also be interested in my Youtube channel...   and books I've written...  

If you are a newcomer to Amateur Radio, here is an introduction for you...  

Due to nearby radiation from TV's, power lines and various other sources of electromagnetic interference, the background noise level on radios at the home Qth here in suburban Adelaide, South Australia is horrendous - strength 9. Nothing can be heard here. The background noise level on the radios at the remote location at our property is strength zero. Depending on Qrn and over the horizon radar, you can basically 'hear a pin drop' on the HF bands. This is the beauty of remote operating. Also, in this case, there is plenty of room for antennas. The station is 150 klms away from home, located on our Bush property.  This remote radio link uses the Remote Rig system and a Wireless Internet connection (4G, 2.4Ghz) at the Radio End as the nearest town is about 10 klms away from the property. In my case, this has meant being able to operate remotely from the home Qth as opposed to not being able to operate at all. Thanks to the information given to me by Matt, VK5HZ, this system is once again operating properly after having been faced with what I thought at the time, was an unsolvable problem. For information about setting up remote capability, click on the 'Remote' link below. Youtube videos about the system here can be seen below too. The Internet has absolutely revolutionized and transformed our lives and our hobby. If not for the Internet, you wouldn't be reading this. I hope this website, in some way, is able to add to your enjoyment of Amateur Radio. 73, Rob, VK5SW.







Remotely controlling a Ham Radio station via the Internet is often desirable nowadays because of electromagnetic interference to radios in the cities due to power lines, TV's and many other sources. The 2 videos above show my setup using the Remote Rig system and Ham Radio Deluxe. The radio station is about 100 miles away from home out in the Bush, in the middle of nowhere, and about 10 miles away from the nearest town. The station is unattended and runs on solar power. A wireless 4G Internet connection is used between the property where the station is located and the town. A fibre optic Internet cable is used from home here in Adelaide to the town of Morgan in the Riverland district. These 2 youtube videos were recorded on my mobile phone. The 4 minute video on the left shows the reception from the IC-7300 remote radio, and the 10 minute video shows the reception from the IC-7600 remote radio at the home Qth. They were made in Dec., 2018.




This Youtube video was made in 2011 before remotely controlled. It shows the location in the Bush and the main solar system. It runs for 7 minutes.


I'm certainly no expert, but these 2 pages may help in setting up solar power / remote control,    / 




Our worldwide scientists, experimenters and radio predecessors, through creativity, perseverance, hard work and never say die attitudes, have given us a hobby which, nowadays, has capabilities beyond their wildest dreams. Amateur Radio Operators of today stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. Of course, those who have fought for our countries to give us our way of life, have given us freedom to follow our interests, like Amateur Radio. We are forever indebted to these great people.

We are on the forefront of expanding our reach into Space, the Unknown. In order to do that, Radio Communication is vital. Many people who are employed in the scientific, communication and various other technical industries, can trace their spark of interest to their hobby of Amateur Radio. Our hobby always has been, and always will be, I believe, an introduction to radio communication and a catalyst to careers which contribute to the advancement of Communication systems.

With the relentless march of technology, in this case the Internet, our hobby of Amateur Radio is becoming more and more sophisticated, but the fundamentals will always remain the same for us.

The wonder and excitement of radio communication.



Early years in my life were very difficult. After high school, here in Adelaide, South Australia, I started a course in Electronics Engineering at the Institute of Technology. After 3 months, I gave it away, as it was apparent to me that I would not be able to pass exams as I could not pay sufficient attention to the lecturers. I then worked in a bank for 6 months, but it was obvious that I was not suited to that. Thereafter, I applied for an apprenticeship as a 'Radio Tradesman' with the Dept. of Defense, then known as 'Weapons Research Establishment' (W.R.E.) and although 19 years old at the time which apparently was an old age for entry, they took me on and I started work there.

These years were very difficult because I had a mental illness. Known as 'Schizophrenia', it means that your 'perceptions' are not always, the same as most peoples'. In other words, you believe things that are not real, but to you, they are. I am told that it is caused by an excess of dopamine in the brain. In my case, I believed that people didn't like me and I felt that I was an uncomfortable person to be around, and so, I tended to keep to myself, afraid of being with people because it caused much fear for me. So, as a consequence, isolation and loneliness were the result. I felt ashamed that I had these feelings which developed into self hatred and as I said, isolation. Self hatred or low self esteem, is in my opinion one of the most common causes of emotional problems. I had worked very hard in high school to pass exams, and now it had all gone down the drain. Self hatred because, I could not be the person I had worked so hard to be. I was also letting my parents down who had loved me and given me all they could to enable a happy life for me. Even so, I worked at the Dept. of Defense for about 18 months and then, I had to resign. The horrendous state of anxiety, simply too much. I didn't want to resign but had to because the emotional trauma was too hard to bare. Experiences like these can't really be described very well using words. As a matter of fact, it was the only time, while resigning, that I've broken down and cried. It meant that much to me. I then saw a psychiatrist, who put me onto the appropriate medication at the time, but in those days, the medication was such that it blanketed a large part of your mind, resulting in a depressed, non energetic state of mind, which basically subdued the personality characteristics of the patient. I fought a number of times to come off the medication and in one instance, it led basically to 'mental or psychic death', but the will wanted this 'shell of a person' to live. The personality at the time was obliterated, blown to bits, there being no person present in the body, but there was only the will. It wanted the body to keep going, so it would cause meaningful coincidences to occur, which even in my state at the time of no mind, were meaningful. This phenomenon is known as 'Synchronicity'. This enabled me to follow the 'signs', the only lifeline available to me. For example, when I telephoned the doctor's rooms to make an appointment, the doctor himself answered the phone, which he had never done before. Instantly, he could tell from the tone of voice, my mental state. He saw me that day and was 'prepared to handle' the interview in such a way, whereby he was able to 'treat me with kid gloves', thereby not overwhelming me but showing me that he understood my state of mind. He worked at a day centre where people with mental problems came in for the day and interacted with each other, in order for them address their problems and to gradually acclimatize to socializing. I attended the centre for many months and on and off, for years. Gradually the nurses, doctors and patients were able to bring me back to health. Even so, it was very difficult as it must have been for many of the patients there too. The psychiatrist, having initially answered the phone, enabled this cascade of events to wellness to coalesce, so to speak. Had he not, things may have developed differently. This being only one of many other meaningful occurrences which helped me to keep going in the right direction. I understand that you may not be able to believe this. I probably would not either, had I not have been through it. These synchronistic occurrences happen for me very often these days and they may do for you too although, you may not notice. It depends on your level of awareness.

Nowadays, medications are available which target certain areas of the brain, not the majority of the brain, thereby enabling less suppression of personality traits. Apparently they 'regulate' the transmission and reception of dopamine between the synapsis on the cells. Apparently, it puts a coating on the receptors and transmitters. I have been taking this new medication for about 18 months or more now I guess, and it has helped me immensely because my 'authentic personality characteristics' are now not suppressed as much. You could say that I am now more like I used to be as a young person, before the mental troubles.

I've also been doing meditation/self inquiry for about five years now, and find it very beneficial. When we are entangled in our thoughts and feelings, we feel that we are those thoughts and feelings. But in reality, we are not. Meditation, among other benefits, enables you to become aware of distance between what you are and what you think you are, ie. your thoughts and feelings. With this distance, which becomes more apparent as you continue to meditate, comes more objectivity, less subjectivity. The benefits of meditation are well known and scientifically proven. I believe that it should be taught in schools from an early age. There are many forms of it, many of which can be found on the Internet. So, I advise you to take it up. Find a method which appeals and stick to it. If, after a while, you feel that a different way of going about it would be better for you, find another on the Internet, for example, and try that one.

While I was working at the Defense department, aged 19, I sat for my full Amateur Radio license exams in 1970 and passed them first go, including morse code, despite the mental anguish. I was given the callsign VK5SW on June 8th, 1970. So, I must have really liked the hobby then too. I had taken no lessons about Amateur Radio, bar one. I studied by myself, reading books which I had purchased. It gave me a passion which enabled me to forget my problems temporarily and made my life much more tolerable and enjoyable at the time. I don't think anything else did in those days, although I did buy a motor bike which must have helped until I came off it one day and crashed onto the footpath. So, I think you can see how I feel about Amateur Radio having given me pleasure in those many dark days when nothing else did. I suppose this is why I have devoted so much time and energy to the website. I guess I believe that it may help someone else discover a past time which can give them pleasure and comfort too.

By the way, I eventually went to work with my Dad, who built fences for a living. These fences were only built here in Australia and are known as 'Brush' or 'Broom wood' fences and are constructed by weaving branches of melaleuca bushes between wires, or factory made panels such as www.adbrush.com.au. Dad taught me the ropes and after a while, I went and worked with other fencing companies and did that for the rest of my working life. I worked for a couple of companies in particular, the bosses of which are my very good friends to this day. 'Hague' at Adelaide Brush fencing and 'Lynn' at Holdfast Brush fencing. Both chaps gave me a lot of flexibility in my working life and I am grateful for this and their friendship. I have been retired from it for about 6 years now. I enjoyed the outdoors but am now enjoying retirement too. While putting up fences, one of our customers for whom we put up her front side fence, eventually became my very good friend too. We don't live together. 'Lisette' lives a mile or two away from me but we see each other most days. We have known one another for about 30 years now. She lives in her house and I live in mine. I look after my elderly Mum who is 93.

What I am trying to do by writing this is to encourage you, the person who is reading this, irrespective of age or any other so called 'classification', to 'keep going', despite the difficulties. If you are facing emotional, mental health problems, please be brave enough to approach someone who you feel may be able to understand and help you. Your General Practitioner is such a person.

Lessons I've learned in this, at times, tumultuous life include that 'you need to learn to love' and 'what other people want from you is to know that you love them'. This may sound rather pathetic to quite a few, but I've learnt lessons like these through hard won experience. I hope your life isn't as much a struggle for you as mine has been for me, but we learn as we go.

Information about my Amateur Radio activities can be found at the links on the bottom of this page.



73 from the land of the kangaroo - 'Rob', VK5SW.  QRZpage


Large Visitor Globe


                          Worldwide HAM Radio QSL Website






Youtube 'Ham QSL cards'



Youtube 'Radio OP's'



Youtube 'Amateur Radio Antennas'



Youtube 'Amateur Radio YL operators'






A 30 minute video of the launch of a satellite by 'Space X'  in California .




A short 5 minute video tour of a section of the International Space Station


Space  -  Nasa Website     ISS     ARISS     Space X Website     Falcon Rocket     StarTrek Website