History of the North East Radio Club
Discussion of a radio club in the North East suburbs of Adelaide (circa 1990) had been going on for some time but without fruition when a group of people met at Wireless Institute of Australia (then South Australian Division) Novice Theory classes, and upon discovering that they were all from the North East suburbs, remained friends after completing the course. The group being Peter Watts (VK5ZFW now VK5PX), Peter Gregg (VK5PBD now VK5GB), Rob Kirkpatrick (VK5MRK now VK5KP), Geoff Hansen (VK5KCA now VK5ALO), and Lorenzo Sione (VK5PBG now VK5KO).
Late in 1990 amateur radio operators in the North East suburbs were asked to participate in the WIA organised amateur radio display at a local Tea Tree Plaza shopping centre. Peter Watts asked many amateurs in the area to participate in the station,. These being Don Campbell (VK5WE), Lorenzo Sione (VK5KO), Alan Mallabone (VK5KAM now silent key), Trevor Quick (VK5ATQ), Peter Gregg (VK5GB), Frank Ayling (VK5VL), George Burgess (VK5CGB now silent key) and Lindsay Collins (VK5GZ now silent key), with packet radio contacts between Don (VK5WE) and Eric Leach (VK5AFN), and Morse operation by Lindsay (VK5GZ) generating a great deal of interest. A display of photographs and QSL cards was also used. The station’s equipment was loaned to the operators by Jensen Electronics. After the activities were concluded the group went back to Peter’s home for a few drinks where the idea of forming a club in the area was discussed.
It was decided that the WIA and the Adelaide metropolitan clubs were too distant and with the number of amateur operators living in the area there should be enough support for a local club.
Thanks to the efforts of Peter (VK5PX), the first official meeting was held on the 11th February 1991 at Peter’s home, with him being nominated as the inaugural President, and Peter (VK5GB) the Secretary/Treasurer. Those present at the inaugural meeting were Don Campbell, Frank Ayling, Lorenzo Sione, Trevor Quick, Peter Gregg, Geoff Kent (VK5KIK), John Butler (VK5NX) and Peter Watts.
The club held its first few meetings at members’ homes, then its first permanent venue at Tea Tree Gully TAFE college for approximately six months. The club then moved to the Modbury West Community Hall followed by a move to the Ardtornish School. The first on air net was held on the 10th April 1991 with the inaugural net controller being John Butler on 147.200MHz. This was later shifted to the local VHF 2m repeater on 146.850 MHz.
By the first Annual General meeting on the 10th July 1992, a name for the club had been chosen, had been Incorporated, a club logo designed, the callsign VK5GRC obtained, a constitution prepared and registered. The club also participated in the Life Be In It fun day in Bonython Park, participated in Jamboree on the Air (JOTA), became affiliated with the WIA (SA Division) all with thanks to an anonymous donation. Rick Grivell (VK5GV) helped many members obtain or upgrade their amateur licences and in that first year the club grew to thirty eight members.
The next twelve months saw an expanded committee working hard for the club in several areas, as well as club participation in the John Moyle Field Day Contest, JOTA, and continuing the social gatherings which began in the club’s early days. Several interesting talks and demonstrations at meetings, including the home brew constructors’ competition for the Marconi award, gave the club several highlights. That year also saw the construction of the club’s first project, a VHF FM Morse Training Beacon to be licensed under the callsign VK5RCW and is now VK5VF, thanks to the technical and motivational efforts of Charlie McEachern (VK5KDK). The club library had gained a large amount of books and magazines and was beginning to show a need of more shelving.
By the Annual General Meeting of 1994 the club had firmly established itself in the Adelaide Amateur radio community with its participation again in the John Moyle Field Day Contest, the WIA (SA Division) Clubs Convention, and the building of VK5BBS packet radio bulletin board. Again the meetings presented many interesting highlights.
The Annual General Meeting of 1995 meant that the first of the very successful VI5AGP special event stations commemorating the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix in Adelaide had been added to NERC’s continually expanding commitment to amateur radio.
In 1996 NERC set up a remote radio site at which the South Australian Packet Users Group (SAPUG) placed the site’s first piece of equipment. NERC had expanded its commitment to amateur radio over its short history through the commitment of its members and thanks to that same commitment there is now a VHF and UHF amateur voice repeater at the NERC repeater site.
Thanks must be given to all those members of the club who have committed themselves to these projects as well as all the other work that has gone into making the meetings so interesting. We must not forget the foresight and hard work of that original group of people that gave us the club in the first place.
Written with special thanks to present members Peter Watts (VK5ZFW now VK5PX) and Trevor Quick (VK5ATQ) for their time and indulgence.
Corrected and updated December 10 2007– amended 12th March 2011.