Ham Radio raucous burns HF ears

Presenter: Vanessa Mills

HF Radio connects when modern technology fails.

HF, or High Frequency, radio has been a popular form of communication for travellers, truckies, farmers and amateur radio hams for decades.

It works when mobile or satellite phones can’t. Moreover, in remote areas HF is often the only method of communication.

But HF radio operators in the Kimberley have noticed an alarming increase in interference on the emergency RFDS channel.

Charles Gimbel has lived in Kununurra for 23 years and is a dedicated HF radio operator.

He’s often heard calls for help on the HF and acted as an intermediary between emergency services like the RDFS and police.

Ham Radio in VK Land


Marine Distress Frequency Preserved

500 kHz Memorial.

There is a growing move amongst maritime groups world wide to preserve 500 kHz as a memorial frequency.

Of course, 500 kHz was the frequency used by the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912.

Since 1912, 500 kHz has been used by thousands of merchant ships to signal their plight in times of peace and war. 500 kHz has been the international marine Morse code distress frequency for the last 90-odd years.

More often than not, 500 kHz was witness to a ship's Radio Officer's last moments. Many Radio Officers literally died at their key as their ship fell victim to enemy action or was overwhelmed by the forces of nature.

Of course, 500 kHz was replaced by the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System or GMDSS in 1999. The frequency has fallen silent these days.

Ham interest in 500khz

Ham Radio from the Past

Postcard from yesteryear. Undelivered mail from 1956 comes back to DeLand .


DELAND -- It's been a long, mysterious journey for one little postcard.

In 1956, George Hitz dropped a postcard into his Stetson Avenue mailbox, hoping a fellow HAM radio operator in Riverside, Calif., would soon get it. No one knows whether the postcard completed its cross-country journey, but it was returned to its starting place this week bearing a 1956 DeLand postmark and a "return to sender" stamp.

Hitz, 64, doesn't even remember mailing the 3-by-5 inch card emblazoned with his call sign. The cards are an integral part of HAM radio tradition, sent almost automatically to confirm radio contacts made around the world.

The postcard's reappearance, however, is something Mack McCormick, 59, won't soon forget. He now lives at the Stetson Avenue home where the card was sent in 1956. On Monday, he pulled it from his mailbox.

QSL from the Past


Kandos Amateur Radio Group

Amateur radio is a great pastime.

Amateur Radio is alive and well thanks to a dedicated group with headquarters in Kandos. Once known more widely as "Ham Radio", the local operators work under the banner of Amateur Radio, Kandos Group/Club – call sign VK2ARK.

If you think this is just a local band of enthusiasts, you're dead wrong. Last year the group was voted the most popular amateur radio group world-wide.

They have members from all around the globe and just recently, Group Controller and founding executive member Tom McBean from Kandos sent out a certificate to their 5000th contact.

Australian Ham Radio

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