Amateur Radio on show

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At the kind invitation of Richard VK3VRS, Amateur Radio Victoria members, Julie VK3FOWL and Joe VK3YSP, provided their School Amateur Radio Club Network exhibition at Melbourne’s Train and Hobby Show. This well-organised show is held every year at Sandown Racecourse. It attracts many thousands of visitors, each day, over the long weekend in March.

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The exhibition included a large presentation area for children, including a parent’s gallery, set aside for Electronics, Soldering and Morse code workshops, complete with slide-shows, take-home kits and free catalogues, kindly provided by Jaycar and Altronics. There were four public workshops scheduled each day over the three-day event.

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Julie said, “The response from members of the public to Amateur Radio is always very positive, particularly when it is directed at engaging youngsters in electronics and radio technologies, but what always surprises me is their interest in Morse code. We ran Morse code workshops and provided many Morse code practice sets to both adults and children. The sound of CW seems to work like a magnet”.

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Joe added that, “The interactive On-Air Amateur Radio demonstration was very popular too. We use small handheld FM radios, to show just how easy it is to get on the air, and a portable sideband transceiver with a laptop to demonstrate modern, digital modes of communication. We have to cater for a generation of very computer-savvy kids. They all say it sounds like R2D2 and they want to try it themselves.”

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The husband and wife team said they also had a lot of interest from school teachers and parents responding to Julie’s School Amateur Radio Club display, featuring many photos of primary school students happily engaged in Amateur Radio activities. “Teachers often need assistance promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to students and Amateur Radio is a great resource. We often go to schools and run free STEM workshops using Amateur Radio. But we can only do so much ourselves. We are always trying to encourage other Amateur Radio clubs and individuals to do the same.” they said.

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The team would like to congratulate the Gippsland Gate Radio and Electronics Club for their own fine Amateur Radio display and their help with on-air participation at the show. Also, to thank Tony VK3XV, from MTA, for providing professional wireless microphones and PA equipment for the exhibition and to Anthony VK3YSA for providing an additional sideband transceiver. Opening the venue to Amateur Radio would not have been possible without the inspiration and dedication of show manager Richard VK3VRS and his army of volunteers. Thank you, Richard.
Julie and Joe can be contacted at the School Amateur Radio Club Network (www.sarcnet.org)

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