Not over, far from out

THE Wireless Institute of Australia performed a historic broadcast at the ANZAC cottage in Mt Hawthorn this week.

Using the special event callsign VK100ANZAC, operators contacted Europe to commemorate the 1915 August offensive.

“We managed to get a very good signal with an operator in Paris who spoke English,” says Onno Benchop, treasurer of WA Amateur Radio News.

“We explained to him the fascinating history of the cottage and about its important role for returning soldiers.

“Amateur radio enthusiasts in Europe are quite excited when they pick up a signal from Western Australia, because it is quite rare and difficult to do because of the distance. Benchop says that there are around 1400 amateur radio operators in WA and five clubs  in the metropolitan area.

14. 894NEWS

• Onno Benchop (VK6FLAB), Bob Bristow (VK6POP) and Andrew Smith (VK6AS) take wireless to new heights. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

Since 1931, Amateur Radio News has broadcasted a weekly news bulletin on various frequencies across the world.

“In the ‘80s, we used to get great quality of reception when doing a transmission,” Benchop says.

“Since then, several factors have affected the ionosphere—which the radio signals bounce off—and it has become harder.

“But over the years we have managed to contact the International Space Station with a handheld device and do some incredible stuff.”

“The clubs in WA are very popular: we have members as young as nine and some who been transmitting for 90-odd years.”

Benchop says more amateur radio sessions at the cottage are planned, in conjunction with Vietnam veterans who used radios in the jungle.

The cottage was handed to veterans in the early 1990s and, through voluntary work and fundraising, they have painstakingly restored it.


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