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About Andrew VK1DA
Early Amateur radio experiences
- Started experimenting with crystal sets, radios, amplifiers, from age 11
- Got interested in amateur radio when the head of the maths department at Lyneham High School (Canberra) announced the establishment of a Youth Radio Club. That teacher was Ken Mattei, VK1KM. The club got a callsign VK1LS which lapsed several years after Ken transferred away from Canberra in the late 60s.
- Older brother Roger got his callsign VK1RD in 1963. Helped with the modifications to a war-surplus receiver (AR7 -similar to the HRO) and the building of an AM/CW transmitter with two 807s in the final, modulated by a pair of 807s in class B zero bias (driven by a 6SN7). Later rebuilt the preamp stages of the modulator to have better low and high cutoff characteristics. This transmitter had high level negative peak clipping and a splatter filter between the mod tranny and the final stage.
- First licenced as VK1DA at age 16 in 1965. Used CW a lot on 40 and 80m. Have QSL cards from Alaska and Texas for 80m cw contacts using the above transmitter, which would almost be classed as QRP (low power) these days. The antenna was a folded dipole at a peak height above ground of about 25 feet.
- With Roger, was a member of the slow morse practice sessions panel conducted by the NSW Division of the WIA, in the period from 1964 to 1968 (approx) which transmitted 45 minute slow morse sessions on 3550 KHz each night of the week. Our night was Saturday, for about 4 years. All hand sent, no computers or cassette tapes then...
- Later another brother Chris gained callsign VK1DC (later changed to VK1DO and VK2DO) again as soon as the rules permitted. Roger later became VK4AAR but is currently not an active radio ham.
- Built a compact AM/CW transmitter for 160/80/40m with a 6DQ6 output.
- Built a DSB/CW transmitter for 80m to try a new mode (1966?). Worked OK but gave me a taste for SSB.
- Built a SSB transmitter based on a 5.4 MHz crystal filter made from surplus crystals - never got it going well though. Later Chris found a critical component was faulty but by then I'd given up making transmitters due to lack of time.
- Used 2m FM before there were any 2m FM repeaters anywhere in Australia
- Used the first Australian 2m FM repeater, 146.1 in, 145.854 out, at Mt Canobalas near Orange in New South Wales during the period 1968 to 1970
- Operated from Queanbeyan, near Canberra, as VK2BAD for about 6 months in 1970
- Participated as an organiser or operator (usually both) in most National Field Day contests and RD Contests held during the period 1967 to 1987
Canberra Radio Society and Wireless Institute of Australia (ACT Division)
- Was Secretary of the Canberra Radio Society for several years (about 68-73)
- As Secretary, was a foundation committee member of the ACT (VK1) Division of the Wireless Institute of Australia, which was admitted to full membership of the Institute in 1974
- As Secretary and Editor of the newsletter, played a major role in VK1 WIA affairs from 1970 to 1981, held position of President for several years and attended numerous Federal Conventions as a VK1 delegate or observer
- Was founding editor of the Division's newsletter "Forward Bias"
- Operated successfully in many DX CW contests
- Wrote articles on various aspects of amateur radio for the national magazine, "Amateur Radio".
- Supported the establishment of the first VHF beacon for VK1 (built by Ed VK1VP)
- Worked for 3 years in Brunei and operated from there as V85DA from June 88 to Feb 91, making almost 8000 contacts, mainly on CW (morse) and almost 1500 contacts on 50 MHz. Issued over 5000 QSL cards for V85DA. Confirmed about 140 countries on HF bands. Was "first V85" for heaps of other hams.
- As V85DA, confirmed over 200 Japanese cities on 6m and all Japanese prefectures on 6m. Continents worked on 6m from Brunei included Africa, North America, Oceania and Asia.
- In November 1989, assisted JA1UT in his 9V1ES operation, which was specially licenced for 6m operation to coincide with the SEANET (South East Asia Net) convention in Singapore. Normally that part of the spectrum is not available in Singapore because Malaysia has some low band TV services, just across the causeway.
- Competent contest operator on voice and CW modes. Preferred CW speed for contesting is about 25 wpm. This makes 2 contacts per minute feasible with good operators at each end.
- Enjoy field day operations preferably VHF/UHF.