With the Australian Callsign VK4BW we're located in Bundaberg, Queensland and known as B.A.R.C.
QTH Locator QG65DC Latitude: 24°53.11'S, Longitude:. 152°18.52'E
Club calendar for 2018 has been uploaded.
Follow this link for the full Calendar of Events
Keep an eye on our Resource Area too for files and information.
You'll find a selection of documents which can be downloaded and printed.
Notes include Electronics Workshops as well as information on the Club's Child Protection Strategy.
Let the Webmaster know if you encounter any problems with documents.
CLUB NEWS will keep you up to date
Click here for the Club News pages and find out what members have been up to. You'll also find information on upcoming club meetings and training workshops. We also feature regular Radio Related science articles.
The club history through photos
Photographs received from current and past members are displayed in the following sections.
For photos 1961 to 1999 follow this link
For the decade 2000 to 2009 this is the link
For photos 2010 to current day this is the link
*Quick Link* Club Calendar
BARC in the Park! We use Field Days to improve our skills using battery power and take part international contests
Amateur Radio tends to be a solo activity
HOW DO WE OVERCOME THE SOLITUDE?
We meet On Air using the Bundaberg Town Repeater on 147.800MHz
Every Monday evening 7.30pm for general chat
We hold regular hands-on workshops to build antennas or electonic components
Club members work with Scouting Australia every October at the international JOTA [Jamboree On The Air] event.
In 2014 1.3million youth wolrdwide took part in JOTA
We enjoy a lunch or dinner together several times each year
This manual will open the door to Amateur Radio for you
Who are we?
First and foremost we are a group of Ham Radio enthusiasts from Bundaberg and surrounding regions. The word ham isn't used much these days, it's called Amateur Radio but even that doesn't describe some of the digital and TV interests our members have. The hobby can be laid back and chatty if that's what you want or it can be technology driven as you search for inventive ways to use the mystery of Radio Waves to communicate. The only real requirement to join us is an interest in radio communications.
You can be any age, male or female and we particularly encourage younger members who have an interest in electronics to join and see what challenges amateur radio can provide.
Whilst it may have started with fellows like Marconi using Morse Code, today modern radio comms can mean talking to astronauts on the ISS or even bouncing signals off the moon or an aircraft in flight if you want it to!
Because we build radio shacks at home it can seem like a solo hobby but we hold club activities to get us out and about, talking and swapping ideas. By becoming active in the club you'll never miss the tips & tricks to make your hobby more enjoyable.
There is a new Foundation licence category which has rejuvenated amateur radio and resulted in an influx of new hams across all the age groups and women and girls are well represented as well. This really is an equal opportunity hobby .
If so many beginners felt confident about about taking their first step towards an Amateur Licence... What about you ?
What do we do?
We participate in contests: That's where you score points for making as many radio contacts as you can. Some contests are for individuals others are club events where we get together and set up gear for the weekend either indoors or out.
We hold workshops: Where you'll learn tips and tricks on how to make antennas or equipment for your own radio shack.
We've been know to Fox Hunt! That's where someone hides with a radio on the 2M ARDF frequency of 145.300Mhz and members try to track down the wily fox. First one to find him wins the day.
We hold social events like BBQ's with other radio clubs to expand our friendships and we also go to Dinner a couple of times during the year.
We serve the Community: As trained radio operators and WICEN volunteers we provide support for Welfare Services and the State Emergency Services in times of natural disaster. We study map reading and radio protocols for emergency situations. Its good to know we are part of the Bundaberg Disaster Management Plan and can be of assistance if needed.
We train YOU: The Club has two certified trainers to provide training for all classes of Amateur Licences.
We hold formal meetings: but we know nobody likes meetings so we only have them quarterly and we get them over quickly so we can get on with "item of interest". This usually entails a presentation on trips, radio meets, new ideas, and new equipment.
We hold weekly radio nets on Monday evening: Club net operates on the Bundaberg repeater on 147.800MHz at 7.30pm local time . This is where people pop in to say hello, swap news or give assists to any members testing equipment or new antenna's.
We maintain repeaters: For the technical buffs, you can learn how our mountain repeaters work in linking radio communications together in this region.
Following the devastating floods of 2010 and 2013 the Bundaberg Regional Council and the Bureau of Meteorology [BOM] have installed rain and river monitoring systems throughout the region.
The data being collected on-site is transmitted back to receivers on Mt Goonaneman.
It's fascinating stuff and we're very pleased to by playing our part by providing a home for the receivers within our repeater shack.
As the relevant authorities begin to build up data we're sure it will assist everyone in times of heavy rainfall and flood conditions.
Sites around the Upper Burnett catchment, Lower Burnett catchment, all of the Kolan catchment and a Limited number of stations servicing the Cherwell, Isis, Gregory, and Burrum catchments pass their data back to our Mt Goonaneman repeater site.
The sites chosen have a direct bearing on rivers which will impact residents within the Bundaberg Regional Council area.
The signals are relayed via our site on Mt Goonaneman directly to BOM so that the general public or residents likely to be affected, can view the data on the BOM website and the signal is also sent to the Bundaberg Regional Council offices where Counter Disaster Staff can use the most up to date data during an event.
Here are some photos of the equipment installed in the field;
You'll notice the plaque showing that these repeaters are proudly designed and manufactured in Australia... and for the really observant, you'll remember the name ELPRO Technologies.
This company belongs to our Club Member George McLucas VK4AMG [who now lives in Brisbane].
George began his electronics career as a teenager here in Bundaberg and he became an Amateur at a very young age under the watchful eye of Rusty VK4JM.
Congratulations George on the recognition and success of ELPRO Technologies, we're delighted to see that it's at the forefront of Bundy's flood mitigation program.
Australian Government Regulations say you CANT operate an amateur radio until you learn what its all about (and Yes Amateur Radio is different from CB Radio)
The first step is to get a Foundation licence which will take around 10 hours of training with the club instructor (and some home reading).
You will have to be assessed to be sure you're competent and then you'll receive a callsign such as VK4Fxxx.(you get to choose the last 3 letters of your callsign.
With this licence you can operate commercial amateur radio equipment on some frequencies at low power.
The club charges of $50 for Foundation Training which includes as much practical hands-on training with our radio equipment as each candidate requires. The cost of the Foundation Training manual is $25. Candidates are assessed when they feel they are ready. WIA exam fees and ACMA licence fees will apply at that time.
If you choose to keep studying the next grades are the Standard and Advanced licences and how you achieve those is up to you.
There is reference material which progress you through what you need to know and this may appeal to someone in electrical or engineering trades.
TrainSafe Australia publishes a range of technical publications, including Radio Theory Handbook for Amateur Operators 4th edition. See the publications section of their web site.
If you prefer a structured study plan with a tutor, there is an alternative.
The Radio and Electronics School provides study courses for both Standard and Advanced licences.
Consisting of a DVD for the Standard syllabus and readings and online assignments for the Advanced, the courses take you from the basics up to exam level.
The Bundaberg club has two trainers who are certified with the RES so we can assist you with your continuing studies.
For full details of courses and requirements check out the Radio & Electronics School.
Australian Callsigns & finding other Amateurs
When you're first licenced you'll see callsigns which look like this... VK4F ? ? ?. The VK indicates Australia. The "4" indicates Queensland, the "F" means it's a Foundation Licence, now what about choosing those last three letters?
The WIA provides a live Public list of available callsigns so you can see which 'letters' are available. [you can accept the next available callsign from the WIA's list for $5 but if you want to be creative and choose your own then that costs $20]
Try your initials; VK4Fxxx in the search and you'll see if it's available, try other the Callsigns you like the sound of, it may already be taken or just sitting idle waiting for you.
Some people choose cheeky F calls like FULL or FUEL, FADE or FOXY, some choose their initials.
It's really up to you but just a word of caution, try saying it [your dream callsign] over and over and see if it rolls off the tongue or is it a tongue twister? Many beginners regret choosing letters with M's and L's close together or G's and L's... as a callsign sounds like this...
This is "Victor Kilo Four Foxtrot Golf Mike Lima". Say that a few times quickly and you'll wish you chose easier letters!
ACMA Searchable Database
The ACMA provides an Australian Callsign checking facility at their Callsign Search webpage and this is where you would track down old friends or new people you've discovered.
To use the ACMA site; In the FIND box select 'Licences'; In the WHERE box select 'callsign' and in the Blank box type the callsign you're searching for & hit the GO button.
Try VK4BW and you'll see the Bundaberg Club licence details.
QRZ ! QRZ !
The QRZ Webpage has a great search facility to find many Australian and international Amateur Radio operators. It is American and automatically downloads the ARRL list of Amateurs BUT... anyone can register with them so it's becoming a great unofficial world register of Amateurs.
We trust you've enjoyed this overview of the club and Amateur Radio in Australia.
Please contact us if we can help you in any way. The contact email addresses are listed below.
The club received a great recognition in 2010 when our President John "Rusty" McGrath received an award from the Bundaberg Regional Council as part of the Australia Day Awards celebrations. Rusty was honoured as Senior Citizen of the year for his work within the club and the community over many years.
He was instrumental in forming this club in 1961, served as President in 1964 and 1965 and as Secretary from 1975 to 2008. Becoming President again in 2008 he served another few years.
During the intervening years he has trained many new amateurs, taught workshops on antenna and equipment construction and trained the WICEN Bundaberg team in it's preparedness for times of natural disasters.
The Award was certainly well deserved and a humble Rusty received the award from Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch on 26th January 2010.
The Club turned 50
To celebrate the 1961 - 2011 life of the club we celebrated with a 50th Anniversary weekend in October 2011. We hosted a reunion luncheon and also the WIA Queensland President's function and visitors came from far and wide. The WIA national board was represented by President Michael Owen and Board Member Ewan McLeod.
25year WIA Membership Medal recipients
The Management Committee for 2017/18
PRESIDENT: Ross Orpin VK4JRO
SECRETARY: David VK4DN
TREASURER: Margaret VK4FHAM
TECHNICAL OFFICER, APRS & JOTA Coordinator: Ross VK4JRO
If you are interested in training with us or require an Assessment at any level please contact;
Trainer: Gail VK4ION
[Sorry but email addresses are not live links to avoid the dreaded spammers]