The VK6 AM Net
by Wayne Tangey, VK6FT
The VK6 AM Net (3580 kHz, Saturdays, 7:30PM local) is still going along OK. We get mixed results - some weeks two of us and other weeks six to eight. Hey,this is West Australia you know!! (1)
The VK3, Victorian Net (3580 kHz, Fridays, 10:30 PM local) struggles along about the same with a few more participants than here in VK6. We have great delight in contacting each other from the West Coast to the East and I have produced a 'special' QSL card to acknowledge the contacts. Stations contacted from VK6 to VK3 include: VK3JIA - Anthony, VK3CTD - John, VK3GLX - Allan, VK3NBI - Peter, VK3XL (mobile) - Mike. Regulars on the Net are Clive - VK6CSW, Martin - VK6BER, Percy - VK6LH (one of the original AMer's of days long gone) and Bob - VK6BA, from the country.
As you would be aware, we are only legal to run 120 watts on AM, so DX is a bit rare. If it wasn't for the noise level (I live in the 'berbs' ) I'm sure we'd do better. My current rig is a home brew job with a pair of 807's modulating an 811a, so can run on the limit but mostly keep it about 80 watts rather than stretch things.
We have had a couple of higher powered jobs come up from time to time, I've been collecting the heavy metal bits for a higher power project but have been stalled by a recent back operation which hasn't gone too well. I am awaiting another operation on it to try and sort the problem out. We then hope to move out of town a bit and make some real noise!
The 'new' younger hams that get a chance to pop in really enjoy the experience. They often end up brewing their own gear up, so it's a real boon to the hobby and home brew in general, which is a bonus. The hardest part is once they're 'bitten' - keeping them interested! I come into a lot of ex-fishing boat type AM Rx/Tx's and put them on 3.580 Mhz. Then I give them away to the 'newies' so that they can come up on air using 'real' AM rather than the psuado AM of the new black box rigs.
High powered mod trannies are pretty hard to come by over here, but have a few in stock for my own use at some stage. We have also had some excellent home brewed Solid State (am I allowed to say that) rigs come in, one of which was built by Clive and runs at around 50 watts but with excellent audio quality. It was built from scratch with just a few different ideas thrown together.
Possibly the most rewarding aspect of the Net is when an old timer pops up and you can 'feel' the excitement in his voice! It puts a shiver down your spine, or in my case what's left of my spine! In summary the AM Activity in Australia is alive and well. We're always looking for new blood and New contacts. If you haven't got an AM rig let one of us know - we're only too pleased to help you catch the 'bug' and help you to either build one or loan/give you a rig.
More information on AM Activity in VK6 is available at the following site:
(1) VK1-8 (Mainland Australia): 17211 licensed hams according to BuckMaster. The population of Australia is about 18 million in a land mass only slighlty smaller than the USA. The east cost of Australia is the most populous.