VK0PD and his Antarctic Adventures

November Presentation

We have been fortunate to be able to secure a presentation from Paul Daniels VK0PD / VK2PAD who gave us an illustrated talk on his experience spending the winter at the Australian Antarctic Division Casey station. Paul started with some background on his interest in radio and Antarctica.

Paul did a site survey once down at Casey and the RF noise was not good but found a location for the antennas and operated from the Hobby Shack. Paul took a IC-7300, an IC-705 and HLA-305 PA and ATX converted SMPSU. Paul built a foot switch from workshop rubbish and showed his operating position in the hobby hut.

Paul showed the weather forecasts in Antarctica and the snow storms/blizzards engulfing and breaking the antenna regularly. It emphasised that there are relentless wind and blizzard conditions that saps your enthusiasm over time.

As the building services supervisor he visited the past radio antenna installation however all the V beams were broken and tower installation was condemned.

He outlined some fun stuff they get up to namely a sauna for 25m then into an ice bath for about 10m – yeah right!

Paul outlined an engineering job he undertook to improve safety and there is constant maintenance that is required to combat the relentless weather and this included some RF engineering work on the tandem delta with the comms tech.

Paul played a video of the first plane coming in along with the fog and it couldn’t land! But then an RAAF C-17A came into the next day and Paul got to come back on a nice big RAAF transport plane – nice!

Paul then took questions.

Do you realise that a job in Australia takes three to ten times longer in Antarctica!

Paul talked about operating radio and the polar flutter and outlined that he was operating radio down there not to make quick contacts but to operate radio and have conversations.

Paul described the size limits for the hardware that you can take down to Antarctica and the need to take down things to keep you busy.

Paul answered some late questions about heading south to work for the AAD and the opportunities that working for the AAD present. He finished with the comment that the AAD is a very supportive organisation to work for.

A huge thank you to Paul for this presentation and to Hayden for liaising with Paul.

There is a recording that is available from the REAST YouTube channel.

73, REAST Committee

Military Radio and Antennas

October Presentation Day

It was a standing room only presentation from Peter, Kim and Denis on 3rd October 2021.

Peter VK7KPC started with FSE-58 section radio from Germany with Helmet antenna – It is crystal locked – mode is FM and runs at 24 Volt – Batteries are a 4 x 6 volt NiCd batteries. Peter shared the Italian schematics with the audience. This radio is cold war era.


We then went across the channel with a Clansman PRC-50 VHF section radio comes with handset or headset, flexible or rigid antenna and is currently on the local 6m repeater transmit frequency. There is a whisper function – low audio level and power. 14V NiCd or C-Cell battery packs.

Peter then showed a Clansman PRC-351/352 VHF manpack with carrying frame – NiCd battery pack – either 4/20W with remote antenna, similar function to the PRC-50. Comes with a hand generator and can link to a vehicle, remote operation, etc. There was also a ground spike antenna demonstrated.



We then went to a PRC-320 HF manpack. Similar batteries and functions to the PRC-351. Has a built-in ATU, comes with a leg morse key, 5/30W power settings with many aerial options. Wire antenna with tunable counterpoises, elements with metric distance/frequency tags. There was also a carry backpack and is only on USB and there are modifications available on the net.


Over to Kim VK7KB – with an Australian AWA A-510 – 1940/50s AM/CW HF valve set in two boxes on your hips with interconnecting cable, crystal locked – four crystals, handset or headset, toolkit, light communicator, many dipole antennas.


Over to an early 1960s Racal SquadCal manpack in a plastic case that actually floats! Came with handset, 5W power, HF AM/SSB/CW and was one of the early manpacks from the UK. 


The next manpack was the 1970s RACAL Sencal 30 with synthesised operation – decade dials to set frequency – similar functionality to the SquadCall and was a very popular radio. There were many antenna options and some built in ATU. NiCd battery pack that screws on the base and the radio came from the Royal Australian Air Force.


Move to more modern radios – the QMac HF-90 – HF radios – 1990-2000s – these are built as a system much like earlier radios with sets of antennas, batteries, tuner, etc. 12-28V operation. The ground connections are interesting where the manpack actually capacitively couple to the person carrying the radio for connections to ground.


Kim then moved to an American – General Dynamics GRC-106 mobile radio with RTTY terminal option, 400W power amplifier, receiver/exciter – fully synthesised HF radio. Kim pointed out they use surface connections with no pins. Known as RattRigs by the Americans. Runs on 24-28V built in late 1960-early 70s.


Denis Jackson then showed the back-up radio from boat – Morana – this is 1939 AWA WS-101 ex-military valve radio featuring a door at the base of the radio that opens to access all the eight valves – low HF frequencies and built in morse key. There was the accompanying power supply converter with vibrator DC-DC converter and battery box.


Denis then moved to the 1945 – 122 set – this was a transportable radio with separate vibrator power unit. It has two bands: 2 to 4 MHz and 4 to 8 MHz. The transmitter could be either crystal or VFO controlled.


We then moved to the Domain compound for a demo of some of the accompanying antennas by Peter and Kim.

There is an accompanying video showing high resolution photos of each radio and video of Peter VK7KPC talking about some of the military radios –

A huge thank you to Peter, Kim and Denis for showing us their collection of radios.

73, REAST Committee