Frederick “Pop” Medhurst – Local Telegraphy, Telephony and Wireless Pioneer

The presentation night for May featured a fascinating history of a true Tasmanian Telegraphy, Telephony and Wireless Pioneer – Frederick “Pop” Medhurst.

The chronological journey of Frederick “Pop” Medhurst was given by Justin VK7TW who wrote the source article for AR Magazine at the start of 2024.

Justin started with an introduction of where Frederick “Pop” Medhurst came from in Chobham, UK and his early life and training. He met Alexander Graham Bell and was offered a job and corresponded with Bell for the rest of his life. He moved to Australia and then Australia and married his wife Edith Edney.

Federation created a unique technology test opportunity and Pop communicated ship-to-shore using spark in 1901.

Justin then showed pictures of the Medhurst Field Telephone that Pop invented and sold throughout the world. The Medhurst company installed the first electric light in Hobart. He was the first Life Member & Patron of the WIA Tas Division and was president over many years. He was also first president of the Hobart Radio Research Club. He organised the first and second WIA Federal Conferences in Tasmania in 1928 and 1935.

He was seen in photos at many events and field days around Tasmania up to quite an old age. The story was peppered with many firsts and Justin finished with the fact that the Medhurst Company still exist in North Hobart.

Frederick VK7AH sitting front centre in the WIA Blazer!

Nov 1932 VK7 Field Day Gang

November 1932 VK7 Field Day Crew

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VK7MO features Amateur Radio on local Science Podcast

Rex VK7MO features amateur radio on local Science Podcast – pickup and listen on the favourite podcast application.

Rex VK7MO on Science Podcast

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Amateur Radio in the Media

Amateur Radio in the Media

Hayden VK7HH on ABC Local Radio

Hayden talked for a whopping 18m with Helen Shields on ABC Local Radio on the evening of Thursday 11 April 2024.

Hayden talked about how amateur radio is flourishing and how he got into amateur radio.

The presenter Helen Shields was surprised that Hayden was so young and interested in an “old persons” hobby!

Hayden covered his very popular YouTube Channel along with some of the interesting aspects like EME and SOTA.

A great promotional piece for the hobby.


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2024 REAST Life Members

Annual General / Special General Meetings / New Life Members

The Annual General Meeting of REAST was held last Sunday with Silent Keys being remembered, reports being received and the election of the 2024 office bearers:

President – Hayden VK7HH, Vice-President – Sean VK7WTF, Secretary/Public Officer – Lance VK7ZA, Treasurer – David VK7DMG, Committee members – Richard VK7ZBX and Justin VK7TW.

Ex-officio office holders were also confirmed and they can be found on REAST website on the link in the email edition of this broadcast.

We then moved to a celebration of two long-term REAST members who became Life Members. We heard about the life and contributions of Herman Westerhof VK7HW and Mike Jenner VK7FB and beautiful myrtle-wood life member plaques were presented to each person.

LifeMembers2024 Herman VK7HW and Mike VK7FB

L2R: Mike Jenner VK7FB, President Hayden Honeywood VK7HH, Herman Westerhof VK7HW

A huge thank you to everyone who contributed and contributes to the life of the club. 

73, REAST Committee

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Fox Hunt Day

REAST hosted a Fox Hunt day on Saturday 6th August 2022.

Even though the weather was a little bleak there were 10 hardy fox hunters who come along.

Fox hunters gathered for a quick briefing before setting off into the bushland of the Queen’s Domain to find the QRP Fox on 2m outputting 15mW.

QRP Fox Hunt briefing
QRP Fox Hunt briefing

This was a good training exercise to get fox hunters used to using their directional tape measure yagis and attenuators as they got closer to the fox.

The QRP Fox was eventually found and then the QRP Fox magically disappeared to another location that was in plain sight!

This was behind a metal sign so the signal was somewhat reflected and a little confusing to locate.

VK7FAMP and VK7LTD Searching!

Prizes were given for those who found the QRP Fox over the two exercises.

VK7TW with QRP Fox

Fox hunters then had a briefing on the DX Fox that had been hidden somewhere in greater Hobart.

This fox was built by Hayden VK7HH and uses a Baofeng handheld putting out 1W driven by an Arduino controller.

Fox Hunters took off in their cars and had been given an hour before hints would be given via Repeater 2.

The BBQ was started so there was hot food for when the fox hunters returned!

One hour came around and the hint of “Eastern Shore” was the hint. Then a little while after that another hint was transmitted being “Kangaroo”.

A final hint was given which was “Kangaroo Bluff” and there were some Fox Hunters who were already at the Kangaroo Bluff Historic Site and locating the fox.

VK7HH with the DX Fox

With the DX Fox found everyone came back to the Queen’s Domain for the prize giving ceremony with some great prizes supplied by Hayden VK7HH from Ham Radio DX, thanks Hayden.

The Ham Radio DX video on the day can be found at:

We then gathered to consume a yummy hot BBQ lunch thanks to Tony VK7VKT’s culinary skills on the hotplate.

Congratulations to all who won prizes and thanks to Ham Radio DX for sponsoring the DX Fox Hunt prizes.

Planning has commenced for the next one and the ALARAMeet Fox Hunt in November 2023.

Ron Cullen (Callsign TBA) took some “hatcam” videos of the fox hunts that are available at the following links, thanks Ron.

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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

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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.—Receiver.html

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

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P25 Emergency Services Network Build

September Presentation Night

The first Wednesday night of September it was standing room only in the REAST COVID-Safe clubrooms for a presentation on how to build a statewide P25 based Emergency Services radio network given by Andrew Johns VK7AJ.

Andrew covered all aspects of a P25 Network and its use within a dispatching organisation like Police, Fire and Ambulance. The topics covered included – What is it, its benefits, comparison with its competition – TETRA, services and trunking.

Andrew then went on to architecture, interfaces, voice & data calls, encryption, the future and then took a look at the local environment.

A huge thank you to Andrew Johns and the respective organisations for the presentation.

73, REAST Committee

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Community Radio Station Technical Support

Opportunity for Amateur Radio operators to become involved

Being an experienced amateur radio operator gives you some unique experiences, knowledge and skills. Ranging from operating computers & computer control, to integration and interfacing, through to knowing and applying radio transmission theory, radio frequency measurement, design and construction; it is an end-end skill set that is highly valued in many technical circles. 

These are skills that are very valuable to a Community Radio station.

There are over 450 Community Radio stations operating around Australia, including 14 in Tasmania. Most operate through volunteer presenters and technical assistants who give their time and knowledge as a community service to enhance and reflect the diversity within our community. For more information take a look the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) website

Are you interested in taking your hobby of amateur radio to a new level and assisting Community Radio stations in a technical capacity? Contributing your skills, knowledge and experience to assisting organisations that are providing an important service to the community.

Keeping a Community Radio station on the air 24/7/365 is not a small undertaking and involves many different roles and responsibilities. On the technical side there is much computer based work like scheduling audio playout on automation systems, establishing and maintaining computer networks, and building and imaging PCs. It also involves audio, computer and communications interfacing and integration, equipment maintenance and occasionally high power radio frequency engineering work.

Technorama is a national support organisation assisting Community Radio technical volunteers. They run training programs and provide other services and their website is worth a look.

If you are interested or just curious then we suggest you get in contact with Jim Parish on email – [email protected] for more information.

73, REAST, Committee

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REAST – R2 Repeater Link Update

From the REAST Repeater coordinator we hear an update about the R2 linking.

Please note the new permanent link arrangements between the Domain and Mt Nelson repeaters. VK7RAD 2m repeater on 146.7 is now permanently linked to VK7RDS 70cm repeater on Mt Nelson. 

VK7RDS operates on 439.750MHz with a minus -7MHz input (note the new input frequency of 432.750MHz). No tone is required, however a 141.3Hz tone output is provided for those wanting to mute the tail and ident. 

The VK7RDS repeater provides good coverage over greater Hobart and down to the Kingborough and Channel areas. VK7RDS operates at 50w into a Diamond X-50 vertical, with a permanent 2m gateway to the Domain. We are hopeful this will increase coverage to those that struggle with the Domain. 

For those previously using VK7RDS to monitor 23cms, can now find this temporarily on the Snug Tiers 146.850 repeater courtesy of Brian VK7BW.

Feedback and reports are welcomed.

73, Damien, VK7SD

REAST Repeater Coordinator.

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