50 Years ago.


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 72. The radio shown above, with the cover removed, was the Yaesu Musen FT200 which in the USA was called the Tempo One, I think. I remember that I took out my first bank loan to pay for it. Along side, can be seen a small 3 inch Oscilloscope which I had built. When I left high school, I went to the Institute of Technology and started a course in Electronics Engineering but it soon became clear to me that I couldn't concentrate well enough to pass exams. So, I left and worked in a Bank for six months after which it was obvious that I was not suited to it and gladly left that place of employment. I then applied to undertake an apprenticeship at the Dept. of Defense (WRE) as a Radio Tradesman. I was told that my age of 19 at the time, was really too old, but they took me on regardless. After a year and a half, due to mental illness, eventually I reluctantly had to resign. While being employed there, I passed my full Amateur Radio license. Since then, most of my working life has been spent building 'Brush fences' which, I mostly enjoyed, mainly because I like the outdoor life. My Dad did this kind of work most of his life too. He initially taught me the game. During the following years, the chaps whom I worked for were terrific and allowed me a lot of flexibility. We were and still are good mates. I retired about ten years ago.

As a young person, I used to rifle through our local rubbish tip 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, 'bfo', 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 over 50 years. A book, which I borrowed from my high school library at the time, called 'Adventures in Electronics' also inspired me. While in my teenage years and beyond, I built many electronic circuits including short wave radio receivers, CW transmitters, the CRO, a gdo, audio amplifiers and many other circuits which I felt to be useful at the time.

These days 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 10 or 11 years ago now, I think, when the brother in law, 'Garry', of my very good and long term friend, 'Lisette' gave me a computer program called 'Front Page' by Microsoft, which enables the creation of 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 10 years or so later, here we are. I quite often 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 of improving 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. For example, here is a front page made in 2010 Click here. But as time went on, they appeared to me to be better than they used to be. Click here. 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 doing it so much. I like the creativity of using my imagination and being able to 'put it into a website page' with the idea of adding enjoyment for others to it as well. The background pictures on the various pages are meant to create an appropriate atmosphere and feeling. I hope that I have done a good job of that. It would be good if you rated the pages to let me know. This website is simply the correction of thousands of mistakes. I knew nothing about building a website but wanted to do it, so in order for the site to improve, I had to correct the mistakes I was making as there was no other way for me to go. I didn't want to read about building websites. I just wanted to set about doing it. So, for example, if I wanted to place an image at a certain place on a page, I would try doing it and then when that didn't work properly, I would try something else until the desired result was attained. So, as mentioned, this website is the accumulation of the correction of thousands and thousands of mistakes. Perseverance and will power are needed to create a good result. In my case I have found that it is often the pushing of myself when you feel tired and don't want to go on, that eventually delivers the results that You want. You could say that this is the process of potential becoming actuality. I also like to think of this as 'Creation' and 'Correction.' I call it 'CC.'

High Frequenccy Radio waves travel at 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 up to about 20 minutes or so to reach Mars, depending on our relative locations in space, which changes in time. As our reach throughout the Universe expands, our reliance on radio communications will be forever more critical. Without expansion, I don't think that we would be able to 'find our place in the Universe.' And without that wider 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 grand scheme of things, I think would come a greater willingness of countries around the world to work together and expand our collective reach and capabilities. We might, possibly, begin to leave conflict behind. 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 Billions out there.



An old 'ZL special' antenna that I used in the old days. To the left, can be seen the rotatable 15Mx dipole above my Ham Shack. That's 'Mitzie', our pet dog in the foreground. Eventually my brother in law 'Greg' and I put up a multiband HF Cubical Quad antenna (fiber glass spreaders) on a windmill tower. In those days, I spotted an old windmill tower in a paddock not far from home. So, I asked the owner if I could have it. I can't remember if I paid for it or not. We dug it out of the ground. Greg had a ute (open tray) so we lifted the 20  foot tower onto it and brought it home. The Quad antenna was mounted on a pole running through the center of the tower to a height of 33ft.The Quad antenna changed everything. Stations were able to be worked comfortably around the world. I was quite often on the radio then, into the wee hours. Eventually, years ago, we disassembled the antennas and I took the tower up to the property on (Hague's) my friend's long trailer. A new 'Cubex Quad' antenna was installed up there, also at a height of 33 feet. The assembly and installation of the new Quad and tower can be seen on my 'Antennas' page.

My original shack at my Parents' place. As mentioned, the tower supported a home brew HF spider Quad made with fiber glass spreaders.

Rob, VK5SW in the shack. 1987. That radio was the IC-735. In those days I used to talk to a lot of Japanese Amateurs, hence the map of Japan on the wall behind me. Commodore 64 in the foreground which was used on RTTY. Painted egg cartons on the ceiling. They were supposed to dampen and reduce the echo effect but had no effect though. I think the radios shown below are the TS140S and a TS950 or TS940. In the old days, I also worked Radio Teletype, RTTY, by learning to type the messages and sending them via radio communications. The old mechanical teleprinter which I used was a Creed 7B. Below. As a matter of fact, I was talking to an Amateur on 14Mhz. Jan. 2020. He was located in the States but had shifted there from N.S.W. in Australia about 7 years ago when he retired. His XYL was originally from the USA. His name was Gerry but I can't remember his callsign. He looked up his log book and found that he and I had had a 'contact' in 1978 using RTTY. He said that we were both using Creed 7B's at the time. I remember that the teleprinter was always breaking down so that the cover was often left off of the machine. Being mechanical machines, they were very noisy and I just about always, I think, I had to use headphones to dampen the noise. It was good fun though, although typing was a challenge in those days. Nowadays, there are so many more digital modes using computers. Not sure, but probably 50 or so. We eventually gave the mechanical machines away and turned our attention towards electronic devices for use on radio teletype. At that time in my case, the VIC 20 and Commodore 64.



Creed 7B


7B Cover removed

Vic 20

Commodore 64




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 IT, Electronics and Communication systems and therefore our ways of life.

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. Passion, Friendship, Knowledge.









Australian, Paul Hogan as 'Crocodile Dundee.' Click above.