In this Issue: ♦ P

Ragchew is the quarterly publication of the
Blue Mountains Amateur Radio Club inc
April-June 2005
At the summit, Gunter VK2JAP
& Pascal VK2IHL
In this Issue:
Presidents Report
♦ Waves around the world
♦ Silent Key
♦ John Moyle 2005
♦ Looking Back
♦ For Sale
Blue Mountains Amateur Radio Club inc. Ragchew Page 1
Presidents Report
Peter VK2YX
Management Committee
2004 – 2005
Peter Illmayer VK2YX
Vice President
David Catlin VK2JDC
Daniel Clift VK2DC
Roger Cooper VK2TEA
Ph .Mob. 0438-587238
Floor Members
Gunter Baurhenn VK2JAP
Paul Dudley VK2JLX
Geoff Gatward VK2XJG
Geoff Gatward VK2XJG
Terry Ryland
After years of excellent service, our repeaters are starting to show their age and it
has been the executive’s challenge to make sure the repeaters serve the members
as best as possible. What started off as a simple exercise of planning the repeater
and antenna replacement, the situation has become even more complicated by the
Lawson Rural Fire Brigade potentially moving from the current location.
In planning the replacement, the executive is compelled to do it in the safest
manner possible which means the hire of a rather expensive Cherry Picker to get
to the top of the mast.
When you piece together the costs to hire the Picker and the potential move of the
site, the mix is not so good. Last Friday 4th, Daniel, VK2DC attended a Lawson
Rural Fire Brigade meeting and confirmed there are changes ahead. We simply
have no idea how long the site will last and hence we are looking for suitable
alternatives to get as high up the mast as we can to replace the antenna, without
emptying the clubs bank account.
PC Build Afternoon:
On Sat 26th of February, a great afternoon was had in sifting through boxes and
boxes of computer parts, rebirthing computers for the club members. The Club
Rooms were covered motherboards, hard disks, peripheral cards and of course
lots of cups of coffee, which culminated in the assembly of four computers for the
clubs use. There were some very interesting devices at the bottoms of boxes,
Parallel port to Ethernet adaptors, Digital Storage Works chassis and lots of other
dongles and adaptors. It was a great afternoon and well attended.
Winter Field Day:
Another Field Day is to be held again this year,on 20th August,
Net Manager
Ross Fraser VK2WN
We were pleasantly surprised when the idea started virtually as a club ‘boot sale’,
simply got away.
This was due to some extensive plugging both on the repeater and on, ‘VK Ham’.
Details as the day gets nearer.
Ragchew is the publication of the
Blue Mountains Amateur Radio
Club Inc.
Club Phone
Postal Address
P.O. Box 54, Springwood
NSW 2777
The Blue Mountains Amateur Radio Club
Inc, disclaims all responsibility for any
losses or damages which may be attributed
to the use or misuse of any article, or
advice contained in this publication.
73's Pete. VK2YX
BMARC President
Editors Desk
No Technical articles in this issue of Ragchew. While I have some very lengthy
articles I have held them over to the next issue, which should have a bumper crop
of tech articles.
Just a note to advise you all that the 3rd quarter issue of Ragchew will be the last
issue printed with the courtesy of my employer, If someone knows a good fairy,who
can print in colour, then let them come forward!
You can subscribe to Ragchew through the Club Website on
Printing Courtesy of
Ricoh Australia
Blue Mountains Amateur Radio Club inc. Ragchew Page 2
Silent Key
It is very sad that once again I must report on another member who is now pounding brass, but with a silent key.
Adrian Van Der Donk, VK2AKQ, Andy to his close friends, ‘Poppa Donk’ to his grandchildren, sadly passed away
on the 23rd of February 2005, after failing to overcome throat cancer.
While Andy was not a club member for very long, he always had constructive input to meetings and was always
keen to discuss or make suggestions to fellow members. He could turn his hand to almost anything when it came
to matters engineering.
Andy was also a member of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service in the Hills District, contributing greatly to
their communication requirements over many years.
Gunter, VK2JAP and Andy had been close friends for many years with much friendly banter between them. Andy
often journeyed to Cooma to the ‘Lodge’ to spend some quiet times with friends from the BMARC. I am proud to
say that I found Andy one of the greatest mates anyone could have.
In excess of 200 people attended his funeral service at St Mathews Catholic Church in Windsor.
Vale Andy
Ham radio operators make waves around the world
No one knows for sure how they got the name “ham,” but amateur radio operators have been chatting it up almost
since the day Marconi switched the world on to wireless communications.
“We play with radios is what we do,” said Joe Stevens, one of dozens of hams on Kodiak.
The hobbyists spend their leisure hours looking for a strong, “five-niner” signal and trying to clear up the ones
“coming in at two-two,” meaning the reception is poor. They find a unique satisfaction in setting up components
that allow them to send and receive clear signals over hundreds of miles using as little power as possible
For radio enthusiasts on Kodiak, their remote location is not the impediment it might be for hobbyists who want to
get together with fellow coin collectors or model train builders.
In fact, in the international ham community, islands have a special place — the more remote, the better. There are
867 islands in the world classified by a British-based ham group as contacts in an ongoing competition for skilled
Serious hobbyists have been known to charter ships to reach some of the more remote shores so they can set up
a station and count coup.
“It’s almost demented, the way some of them go at it,” Stevens said.
One local ham is known as a champion “DX-er,” meaning he excels at making contact with other hams all over
the world, bouncing signals off the atmosphere to talk to fellow hobbyists in the Lower 48, Europe and Asia.
“My name in Charlie-Hotel-Uniform-Charlie-Kilowatt,” Chuck Mackey said, using the phonic spelling familiar to
radio operators.
Blue Mountains Amateur Radio Club inc. Ragchew Page 3
Mackey has collected more than 10,000 of the postcards hams exchange to commemorate their contacts on the
air. Yet there are so many operators who play this game that Mackey can only know if he has heard a certain
voice before by consulting his logs which go back 25 years. The brief conversations can touch on almost any
topic, while conditions permit.
“What you do not talk about is politics or armaments,” Mackey noted, although the caution has more to do with
restrictions on people in other countries.
Mackey took up ham radio when he operated the power plant in Cape Chiniak, a job that left him with plenty of
time on his own. Now he calls amateur radio “a really good retirement hobby.”
Although Mackey is one of the area’s senior hams, most of his colleagues are adults now, and the image of Boy
Scouts memorizing Morse code for their amateur radio merit badge is less familiar in these days of easily
available computer chatting. “That’s another field,” Mackey said. “They can have it.”
Yet this seemingly outdated mode of communication still has a crucial role to play in emergency situations. In
case of a natural disaster, it is still often hams with their independent power supplies and intimate knowledge of
hardware who can spread the word first and most reliably.
On Kodiak, amateur radio operators helped coordinate rescue operations after the 1964 tsunami, and their
successors are ready to step in again. Many of the local hams are also members of the Bayside Volunteer Fire
Department. They equipped and maintain a bus named “Squad 17” as a mobile emergency broadcast station.An
article on the bus by John Pfeiffer appeared in the March edition of QST, an amateur radio magazine.
Hams also stay ready for emergencies through their regular activities, of checking in with each other over informal
The “Motley Group” includes operators from Barrow to Ketchikan who meet on the air every night. Although most
of the time the discussion is pretty light, it keeps the network ready in case telephones and computers get wiped
out. As Stevens put it, “If you don’t use it every day, it won’t work in an emergency.”
Meanwhile, the operators can have some fun and throw themselves into an absorbing hobby. (One late Kodiak
ham even has his ashes placed in his radio shed.)
There are no formal classes on Kodiak for those who want to learn how to be an amateur radio operator, but
Stevens and others administer quarterly licensing exams, letting new recruits into a world of unseen like minds.
“You never know who’s listening in,” Mackey said.
Did you know?
The flea can jump 350 times its body
It's like a human,
Jumping the length of a football field
No prizes, but can anyone tell me what it is? Answer next Ragchew!
Blue Mountains Amateur Radio Club inc. Ragchew Page 4
For all you John Cleese Fans
I know you’re out there!
Letter to the Citizens of the USA, From John Cleese
To the citizens of the United States of America, In the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the
USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective
today. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths
and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy.
Your new prime minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for the 97.85% of you who have until now been
unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for America without the need for further
Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any
of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with
immediate effect:
1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up "aluminium". Check the
pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. The letter 'U' will be
reinstated in words such as 'favour' and 'neighbour', skipping the letter 'U' is nothing more than laziness on your
part. Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters.
You will end your love affair with the letter 'Z' (pronounced 'zed' not 'zee') and the suffix "ize" will be replaced by
the suffix "ise". You will learn that the suffix 'burgh is pronounced 'burra' e.g. Edinburgh.
You are welcome to respell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if you can't cope with correct pronunciation. Generally, you
should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up "vocabulary". Using the same twenty seven words
interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of
Look up "interspersed". There will be no more 'bleeps' in the Jerry Springer show. If you're not old enough to cope
with bad language then you shouldn't have chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary then you
won't have to use bad language as often.
2. There is no such thing as "US English". We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker
will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of "-ize".
3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents.
It really isn't that hard. English accents are not limited to cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in
Frasier). You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents - Scottish dramas such as "Taggart" will
no longer be broadcast with subtitles.
While we're talking about regions, you must learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in England. The name
of the county is "Devon".
If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American States will become "shires" e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire,
4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys. Hollywood will be required to
cast English actors to play English characters. British sit-coms such as "Men Behaving Badly" or "Red Dwarf" will
not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American audience who can't cope with the humour of
occasional political incorrectness.
5. You should relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The Queen", but only after fully carrying out task
1. We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through.
6. You should stop playing American "football". There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as American
"football" is not a very good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders
may have noticed that no one else plays "American" football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should
instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game.
Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American "football", but does
not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full Kevlar body armour like nancies). We are
hoping to get together at least a US Rugby sevens side by 2005. You should stop playing baseball. It is not
Blue Mountains Amateur Radio Club inc. Ragchew Page 5
reasonable to host an event called the 'World Series' for a game which is not played outside of America. Since
only 2.15% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable.
Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls' game called "rounders" which is baseball without fancy
team strip, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.
7. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more
dangerous in public than a vegetable peeler. Because we don't believe you are sensible enough to handle
potentially dangerous items, you will require a permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 2nd will be a new national holiday, but only in England. It will
be called "Indecisive Day".
9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your own good. When we show you German
cars, you will understand what we mean. All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts. You will start
driving on the left with immediate effect.
At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables.
Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips. Fries aren't even
French; they are Belgian though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in Europe) are not
aware of a country called Belgium.
Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called "crisps". Real chips are thick cut and fried in
animal fat. The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat. Waitresses will
be trained to be more aggressive with customers.
11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added to all tea made within the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts, this quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.
12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all, it is lager.
From November 1st only proper British Bitter will be referred to as "beer", and European brews of known and
accepted provenance will be referred to as "Lager".
The substances formerly known as "American Beer" will henceforth be referred to as "Near-Frozen Knat's Urine",
with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser Company whose product will be referred to as "Weak
Near-Frozen Knat's Urine".
This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in Pilsen, Czech Republic) to be sold
without risk of confusion.
13. From November 10th the UK will harmonise petrol (or "Gasoline" as you will be permitted to keep calling it
until April 1st 2006) prices with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the former USA and
the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon - get used to it).
14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so
many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled
by adults.
If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing me or speaking to a therapist then you're not grown up
enough to handle a gun.
15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.
Tax collectors from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues
due (backdated to 1776).
16. Last but not the least, and for heaven's's Nuclear as in "clear" NOT Nucular.
Thank you for your co-operation and have a great day.
John Cleese
Blue Mountains Amateur Radio Club inc. Ragchew Page 6
John Moyle 2005
Hi Everyone,
The Mt Kosciusko weekend was a great success and good fun all round.
Pascal's VK2IHL 11 element 2 metre Yagi as seen at the last club meeting, was the highest point in
Australia from 1700 hours on the 19th March to 1200 hours on the 20th March 2005 and survived a
night of extreme cold and high winds. (Photo, front cover)
It was an amazing site to see and a breeze (hi hi) to deploy and dismantle in the field. All that hard work
paid off!!
Carl VK2HRC (aka Sean Connery) was the draught horse carting Gunter's custom built trolley with all
the antennas and masts to the camp at Rawson's Pass.
A magnificent effort Carl, (see pic below).
Gunter VK2JAP had a great time organizing everyone and giving
them the chance to enjoy themselves and something to talk about
for a long time to come. The success of this trip is a credit to the
radio sports manager!!
Brad VK2QQ and BobVK2BYF manned the Cooma base camp
and kept in regular contact and vehicle support over the weekend
and Alf's VK2YAC magnetic loop was also a great antenna to
have in the field- a big thanks to all involved!!
73’s till later,
Photo above is one of Pascal ‘rotaing’ the 11 el
2 metre yagi
The picture on the left shows two team Mt K
members preparing for the ascent!
Below Carl, VK2HRC doing the hard yards!
Blue Mountains Amateur Radio Club inc. Ragchew Page 7
Looking Back
Daniel VK2DC
Source: Amateur Radio Magazine, Radio Television & Hobbies.
Early in 1956, a campaign was launched to raise funds to build a transmitting station for the W.I.A.,
New South Wales Division.
The WIA council considered that acquiring a site for the location of VK2WI was essential, and should be
acted upon with some urgency.
Land had been selected at Dural, and some field strength tests had been carried out. The site was
considered ideal, as B.C.I. (Broadcast Interference), would be at a minimum for the 500 watts
allowable, and the use of 40 and 80 metre’s, would give state-wide coverage under all conditions.
September 1956 in Bill’s Moore’s column, (Ham Bands with Bill Moore) in Radio Television and
Hobbies, he writes of the progress raising funds for VK2WI, Dural.
At this time, an amount of £800 had been raised, and the building was progressing smoothly.
The building was being built on foundations excavated by volunteer labour.
Working bees were held on Sunday’s to construct the actual building. By October of that year, the fund
had reached £850. Also, as with previous months, volunteers were required to help complete the
building, (other than bricklaying,) and the contact was Jim Corbin, VK2YC, on telephone MU1092.
Jim Corbin, VK2YC attended the Commonwealth Government School of Civil Defence in Mt Macedon,
Victoria to speak on behalf of Radio Amateurs and as current President of the N.S.W. Division of the
While the event took place in late 1956, it was reported in January issue of RTV&H. 1957.
Jim was able to express the Amateurs viewpoint and to report on the range of emergency nets run by
amateurs in all states, not only VK2.
The new home for VK2WI was nearing completion at this stage, due to the untiring work of VK2EN, and
councillor VK2AHP.
Both these gentlemen spent more than their fair share of
time to ensure the project was to be completed.
To get VK2WI on the air a Transmitter was presented to
the Wireless Institute by Chas Maclucan, VK2CM.
Don’t forget, the next meeting is the
Annual General Meeting of the Blue
Mountains Amateur Radio Club inc. date is
the 6th of May, at the clubrooms in
Reading Street Glenbrook, at 2000 hrs.
Please consider standing for a committee
Blue Mountains Amateur Radio Club inc. Ragchew Page 8
For Sale
This section is open to all members to part with that unwanted piece of equipment
- Yaesu FT 415 2 Metre FM, has DC car supply, plug in speaker mic, books etc.
As New. $200.00.
- ICOM IC202. 2 metres SSB, 3 watts O/P, covers 144 – 144.400. Manuals and orig mic.
Excellent condidtion DC Power Supply included. $130.00
- FT707 HF Transceiver. Has a Speech Amp, Manual. $350.00 or near offer.**
- Sony AM / FM Tuner $10.00
- Wattmaster Dual Cassette Recorder $20.00
- 70 CM J Pole Unsure of exact frequency: $10.00
** from the estate of Keith, VK2JY, and it would be great if we can move these items.
Contact Daniel, VK2DC for these goodies at [email protected]
Winter Field Day.
Saturday August 20th will see another Blue Mountains Amateur Radio Club
‘Field Day’
This promises to be bigger and better than the event held last year. The venue is again the Club Rooms
at the 1st Blaxland Scout Hall in Reading Street Glenbrook.
Visitors will be asked for a ‘Gold’ coin donation. A sausage sizzle will be available as well. Hopefully
some traders will be in attendance.
Watch this space for further information, as the day gets nearer.
Trans Tasman 80 Metre Phone May 21st
Lets do it again!
Blue Mountains Amateur Radio Club inc. Ragchew Page 9
Ragchew is the Quarterly Publication of the
Blue Mountains Amateur Radio Club inc.
P.O. Box 54 SPRINGWOOD. N.S.W. 2777
Blue Mountains Amateur Radio Club inc. Ragchew Page 10