Member Spotlight – Peter Parker
Name: Peter Parker
QTH: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
When were you first licensed ? Licensed as VK6NNN in 1985, VK6BWI from 1988, VK1PK from 1995 and VK3YE from 1998.
How did you become interested in radio? I spent my youth at rubbish tips, taking apart given radios and TVs and building electronic projects that mostly did not work. I avoided soldering until figuring out that new solder works better than reusing solder from terminal strips in valve radios.
Milestones included the construction of a crystal set in 1980, discovering shortwave broadcasting on a valve receiver in 1981 and a simple ‘electronic organ’ in 1982 from a Dick Smith Fun Way book. Hours were spent putting wires into springs on a Tandy 150-in-1 electronics set. Amazingly some wires could be pulled out and the project would still sort of work with only half the parts in the circuit.
Two back to back AM/shortwave radios led to the discovery of amateur SSB activity and a novice licence in 1985. The following year was spent building transmitters no one heard. A one valve crystal controlled CW transmitter from the 1973 ARRL Handbook provided the first contacts – mostly CW/SSB crossmode on the 3.579 MHz TV colour burst crystal frequency. The value of frequency agility was an early lesson and various VFOs were built, most of them drifty.
The 1990s brought more bands, more modes and smaller gear. Projects included a 7 MHz VXO CW direct conversion transceiver, 2m FM portable transceiver, and a 14 MHz CW transmitter for Cycle 22, then near its peak. Later favourites included HF DSB and SSB transceivers (often using ceramic resonators, ladder crystal filters, NE602s and BD139 transistors) and phasing SSB equipment.
Limited space led to experiments with magnetic loops and HF pedestrian mobile. The joys of the latter (along with the perils of a trailing counterpoise) were first discovered with a converted Johnson Viking CB on 28 MHz. This was mounted in a carpeted chipboard box with battery and 1.5 metre whip.
A move to a beachside suburb brought further HF/VHF/UHF portable and pedestrian mobile activity which remains an interest to this day.
Transceiver and antennas: Transceivers used include Yaesu FT-817, Ten Tec R4020, MDT 40m DSB, Beach 40 DSB, BITX and various homebrew.
Favourite antennas include end-fed half waves, full wavelength loops, half square, magnetic loops and verticals for pedestrian mobile.
Peter’s You Tube Channel
Be sure to watch Peter’s introduction to his You Tube channel here.
Modes and interests:
SSB, DSB, AM, CW. Activity from parks, beach and pedestrian mobile. Also video production and technical writing.
Comment by Webmaster (Jonathan VK6JON): I’ve known Peter for some time now and he is a great ambassador for ham radio. I enjoy reading his regular contributions in the Wireless Institute of Australia’s (WIA) monthly Amateur Radio magazine and I’ve got to know Peter through various QRP/portable groups we are involved with.
Be sure to check out Peter’s You Tube channel and his new Minimum QRP Kindle book (links above). He’s a great experimenter and you’ll learn a lot from him.
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