Brisbane, Australia


During October and early November 2003, G3PHO, the webmaster, took a holiday in Australia and New Zealand. The first weekend of the holiday was spent at the home of Doug and Ruth Friend in Brisbane (on coast of Queensland). The couple had already visited G3PHO on three previous occasions when they have been over in Europe. My wife and I really enjoyed our short stay with Doug and Ruth. It wasn't all amateur radio of course... we also managed a fascinating bush walk on Mount Tamborine.

Doug has an insatiable appetite for microwaves! His basement shack, pictured right, contains a very nice selection of test equipment and transceivers/transverters for the bands above 144MHz.

He builds his own microwave gear and has transmit/receive capabilities up to 10GHz and has some parts for 24 and 47GHz. Obtaining parts for the construction programme is not always easy down in Australia and so he tries to obtain the hard-to-get items during his world travels.

Doug has this array of VHF/UHF antennas on his roof top and does very well from his hillside location. However, to get better results on the microwave bands, he resorts, like the webmaster, to portable operation.
The photo right shows VK4OE/P at Mount Tamborine during our day out in that area. Doug had arranged a 10GHz sked with another VK4 to the north of him. In spite of all the trees at the Mt Tamborine location, we managed to find a small "window" of open take-off and an excellent SSB contact ensued over path exceeding 100km.
Observant ones among you will notice a short length of tree branch with a thin wire wrapped around it, the lower end of the wire going into an N-connector on the transverter. Believe it or not, this stick is holding up the makeshift 144MHz quarter wave vertical antenna we had to make, boy scout fashion, as Doug had forgotten to pack the mag mount mobile 2m antenna before we set off from Brisbane! Since we needed 144MHz liason with the station to north, we were fortunate to find a suitable 19.5 inch length of wire (wrapped around part of Doug's roof rack) and of course we weren't short of tree branches!
Doug uses a GPS to establish his exact position and to calculate the dish heading to the other station. Being a Northern Hemisphere person myself, it was a salutory experience seeing the 27 degrees south 153 degrees East come up on the GPS!
How many of you recognise the large dial on the right hand side of Doug's microwave transverter? No, your eyes are not deceiving you ... it's an IC202! Doug has built a 1 watt 10GHz and a 2.3GHz transverter into this nice box, along with a "carved up" IC202 14MHz IF transceiver. He can also use the IC202 for 2m talkback, there being a suitable antenna socket installed on the other side of the box (the one with the wire and tree branch antenna!). So, at the flick of a switch, Doug can operate on any of the three bands ... neat, eh?