Amateur radio group celebrates centenary

6 July 2023|Community News, Lifestyle| Off Comments off on Amateur radio group celebrates centenary|

A local group of amateur radio enthusiasts with the callsign VK7 celebrated its centenary in June.

Colloquially known as “hams”, the group experiments with a form of short-wave radio communication and digital tools.

The Tasmanian Division of the Wireless Institute of Australia was formed in Hobart in 1923 and is still operating today, meeting weekly as the Radio Electronics Association of Tasmania (REAST).

Wireless communications began in Tasmania before the first World War, with the Hobart coastal wireless station VIH established on the Domain in 1912.

This station in Hobart is still used today by REAST, whose members include a mix of retirees and a small group of younger enthusiasts.

Members meet to share their common interest in experimental radio communications, and run training sessions so prospective “hams” can obtain their amateur radio licence.

“Amateur radio is the hobby of a thousand hobbies,” REAST president Hayden Honeywood said.

“For example, we have people who combine it with climbing up mountains and making as many contacts as they can, and we run a weekly television show from the station.

“We’ve managed to adapt over time, so there’s always going to be a place for amateur radio.”

Richard Rogers has been an amateur radio enthusiast since 1959.

“I spent 60 years learning about the old way of doing radio but now it’s all different,” he said.

“I could still build a morse code transmitter in a couple weekends if I wanted to, but technology moves so fast these days.”

Another member, Larry Hower, began his obsession with ham radios in Pennsylvania as a boy.

“The thing about radio is there’s something for everyone, that’s the appeal,” he said. “Amateur radio is useful as a backup in natural disasters.

When cellular went down in Dunalley during the bushfires, ham radio worked.”

Anyone interested in amateur radio or experimenting with modern communication tools can head to the REAST website: www.reast.asn.au

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