Member Spotlight – Jonathan Clayman
QTH: Bunbury, Western Australia.
When were you first licensed: I was originally licensed in 1983 as a teenager in Sydney (VK2) and was inactive for many years, returning to the hobby in 2009. I was VK6PTU from 2009 – 2014 when I finally upgraded to my Advanced call of VK6JON. The recent sunspot cycle peak was the first I have ever experienced in the hobby whilst active and I’ll never forget it.
How did you become interested in radio: I purchased my first 27Mhz AM/SSB CB radio when I was 15 years of age and discovered the world of skip and was instantly hooked. Shortly afterwards I visited a local ham who introduced me to amateur radio and I never looked back. I got my license several years later and my fascination with long distance DX has never waned.
I have never ceased to be amazed at the ability to put up a relatively small antenna with a simple set up and low power level and work the world. Many people who I meet when out portable marvel at the technology and are surprised when I point out to them that other than the radio and battery power supply that technology is not involved.
Favorite radio activities and locations: I mainly operate close to saltwater because it gives signals an enormous boost even with a modest antenna and power level. Until 2010 I was relatively ignorant on what can be achieved when operating portable from the right locations and with a good antenna. I am extremely grateful to Stephen Godfrey VK6HCF and Dave G4AKC for introducing me to this aspect of the hobby.
Stephen lives in the town of Broome in the Kimberley, in remote N.W. Australia and introduced me to his Buddipole when I met him and spent time with him in 2011. I was stunned at how well he did with DX using his Buddipole at stunning coastal locations and I was hooked. I purchased my Buddipole in late 2011 and have never looked back.
I met Dave on air at a similar time operating from his bicycle on the Blackpool Promenade in Lancashire, England and have learnt a lot from him also. I was also fortunate enough to meet him in 2012 and find out more.
Future hobby plans or goals: I want to start doing SOTA (Summits on the Air) and more WWFF
(Worldwide Flaura and Fauna) activations and a coming move to VK7 is an ideal opportunity to do this. The Buddipole is a fantastic antenna but I will need something better suited to bands such as 40 metres which is also very lightweight and easily portable. I’ve recently acquired a linked dipole which operates on 20,30, 40 and 80 metres and will be looking at low weight battery options in the near future.
Member of any radio organizations or clubs: I am a member of the WIA (Wireless Institute of Australia) and of the Bunbury Radio Club.
Describe some of your favorite field radio experiences: I have had many enjoyable experiences over the past four years or so during the peak of the sunspot cycle and a few examples are:-
- Operating from overseas (France, England and Scotland) during a 7 month stay in Scotland from September, 2014 to May, 2015. During this stay I worked VK on both 17 and 20 metres from the Isle of Mull using just 5 watts and the Buddipole.
- I accompanied Carl 2E0HPI on a SOTA/WWFF activation on Cringle Moor in Yorkshire in August, 2015 and had a contact with Paul VK5PAS, using just 5 watts and a linked dipole.
- I have had contacts with Dave G4AKC where he has been pedestrian mobile on the Blackpool Promenade and I have been on the beach in VK6 running 5-10 watts with 5/9 signal reports both ways on 20 metres.
Transceivers and antennas: Rigs: Yaesu FT857D and Baofeng UV-5R, Antennas: Portable – Buddipole, SOTA beams linked dipole (recently acquired), Car – Terlin Outbacker.
Modes: SSB only. In my earliest days of being licensed with an Australian Novice license, I was very restricted in the bands I could access and I used CW a fair amount on 15 metres because I was only able to use 21.125 – 21.200. I have not done so now for many years.
Jonathan’s website: http://www.vk6jon.com.
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