Radio - GONZALES

Julie and Joe Gonzales
Julie and Joe Gonzales
Julie and Joe Gonzales
Julie and Joe Gonzales
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Radio
Julie and Joe are both Amateur Radio enthusiasts. That means we have fun building radios and antennas and operating our shortwave, VHF and UHF and satellite radio systems at home and everywhere we go. We are licenced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and are permitted to transmit on the air on certain bands distributed throughout the radio spectrum. We have made many friends around Australia and the world by contacting them on the air and often visiting them in person. We each operate our own radio stations at home, but we have to share our antennas. We love Amateur Radio. It is a magnificent hobby for anyone. Here are our QSL Cards and Callsigns:

Julie's callsign is VK3FOWL
(Victor Kilo Three Foxtrot Oscar Wiskey Lima)

Joe's callsign is VK3YSP
(Victor Kilo Three Yankee Sierra Papa)

Our School Amateur Radio Club callsign is VK3SRC
(Victor Kilo Three Sierra Romeo Charlie)
Portable Operation
We are also very active in portable Amateur Radio operation, where we take our gear to activate many different remote locations. We enjoy participating in many organised Amateur Radio events and contests such as:
Julie VK3FOWL
Actually, I realised I have been involved in Amateur Radio for over 30 years, as second operator to Joe VK3YSP. After all this time I decided that I wanted my own rig and antenna so I could get on the air when I wanted to. So, with the help of Joe, Bob VK3FLAK and Amanda VK3FQSO, I received my call sign on 15 October 2013. I have now set up my Elecraft KX3 and use 80 and 40m folded dipole antennas. I also have a Yaesu FT-817ND which I use for SOTA and an FT-60R for bushwalking.

I was a professional library technician at three local primary schools in Melbourne and I absolutely love reading. My ambition is to give children a wonderful early reading experience. I am also, as Joe says, obsessed with owls and they help me in my own library promotion campaign called "Owls in the Library".

In 2015 I started up three primary school amateur radio clubs for children aged 6-12 years. The response from principals, teachers, parents and students has been overwhelmingly positive. The students learn all about callsigns, operating procedures, codes and abbreviations. They get on the air at lunchtimes and have an absolute ball. Other activities include Morse code practice (which they love), hidden transmitter hunts, building antennas and electronics kits.  

Joe and I love bushwalking and camping and we are very active in promoting Amateur Radio to the general public. We have completed a 5,500km road trip around Victoria to activate 45 National Parks for KRMNPA and WWFF. It is amazing how beautiful and diverse Victoria's National Parks really are! We have set up our Nissan X-Trail with mobile radio gear and antennas and have some portable radios and antennas too. We went up to Mount Donna Buang for the JMMFDC, made a lot of contacts and had a lot of fun. We set up at Bunnings for the WIA PR4AR weekend. We activated the Melbourne Museum for IMW and the Queenscliff White Lighthouse for ILLW. When we meet people on our portable operations, I am always surprised how interested they are in Amateur Radio. We give them a go on the air and hand out WIA brochures. The children absolutely love hearing their name in Morse code. I am really into SOTA and love activating and chasing. I really appreciate the guys who take the time and effort to reach a summit and call CQ. SOTA is like a real family and I am getting to know everyone's name. Finally I am really into weak signal digital modes like FT-8 which I use by connecting my laptop, running WSJT-X into my Elecraft KX-3. It a great setup and I have had many contacts as VK3SRC.

Here are the details of my very basic amateur radio station in Oakleigh, Victoria, 16km South-East of Melbourne, Australia:
  • Home Station: Elecraft KX-3 Transceiver, DOSS PS732 Regulated Power Supply, Digital PWR/SWR Meter, Redback C0379 Desk Mic, Himound HK-706 Morse Code Key
  • Mobile Station: Yaesu FT-7900R Transceiver, Andrews SB5B Dual Band Whip
  • Portable SOTA Station: Yaesu FT-817 Transceiver, 40/20/10m OCF Dipole, Yaesu FT-60R Transceiver
Joe VK3YSP
I was originally introduced to amateur radio in the seventies by my then neighbour Mr. Edward Blake VK3ZHA (sk). Ted had a modified SCR-522 aircraft transmitter for 2m AM into a 10-element horizontal yagi with a 2m valve converter for a Trio 9R-4J communications receiver. He also had an AWA MR10A on a ground plane antenna for 2m FM.

For a few years I was an avid SWL using a Trio 9R-59DS communications receiver. Then, due to Ted's encouragement, I obtained my own callsign in 1975, when I was 15. I converted an old AWA MR3A "Carphone" and built a quarter-wave ground plane antenna for 2m FM. I also worked on 2m AM with a Trio TR-2E transceiver into a 10 element yagi.

Later on, I got interested in Amateur Radio Satellite operation. I used a Yaesu FT-221 with a 20 element RHCP yagi on an Az-El mount on 2m SSB. I built and programmed an "automatic satellite tracking system" from scratch using a home-built Xerox-820 CP/M computer. It had a Z-80 with 64kB of memory and two 8-inch floppy disk drives. The OSCAR satellite orbital elements were downloaded, using a 300 baud modem, from the Celestial BBS run by Dr. TS Kelso. After translating the satellite tracking algorithms, published in the NORAD Spacetrack Report No. 3, from FORTRAN IV into PASCAL, I built a digital PWM controller for two TV antenna rotators, which were used to automatically steer the beam. Then for some years I also worked AX.25 packet radio on 2m FM with a TNC-220 into an Icom IC-22S.

After a long break I got back on the air, and on HF for the first time in March 2013. I am currently running an Icom IC-7200 HF/6m transceiver into switched 80, 40 and 20m folded dipoles.

Here are the details of my very basic amateur radio station in Oakleigh, Victoria, 16km South-East of Melbourne, Australia:
  • Home Station: Icom IC-7200 HF/6m Transceiver, LDG IT-100 Autotuner, Daiwa CN-801 SWR/PWR Meter, Manson SPA-8230 Power Supply, COMET CF-50S LPF, Diamond CX310 Coaxial Switch, Bird 100-ST-FN Dummy Load, Lightning Arrestor, Ground Stake.
  • Audio Line: Redback C0379 Desk Mic, Mackie 402-VLZ3 Preamp, Behringer DEQ2496 Digital Audio Processor, KRK KNS-8400 Headphones.
  • Other Stuff: Raspberry Pi Internet Radio Gateway, CH FlightSim Yoke/Pedals, Paistos Disk.
  • Home Antennas: Three 6.5m Aluminium Masts, 80m, 40m & 20m Folded Dipoles with Dual Core Current Baluns.
  • Mobile Station: Barrett 2050 Transceiver, Barrett 2019 Autotune Antenna, FAMPARC 8-Band Whip, Andrews SB5B Dual Band Whip, Yaesu FT-7900R Transceiver, 400W Solar Panels, 240Ah SLA Batteries, N8XJK Super Booster.
  • Portable Station: Yaesu FT-60R VHF/UHF FM Transceiver.
  • Portable Event Station: 80/40/20m Fan Dipole, Dunestar Triplexer, CQer, Three 8.5m Telescopic Aluminium Masts, Lightning Arrestor, Ground Stake.

April 2015: The Evolution of a Multi-Band Fan Dipole For Portable Operation

June 2015: Amateur Radio Group has its head in the Clouds - Melbourne Amateur Radio and Technology Group Global Space Balloon Challenge

Term 1 2016: School amateur radio is set for a comeback with SARCNET

May 2016: Mini Satellite-Antenna Rotator

August 2016: 2016 ANZAC Day Amateur Radio Special Event

October 2016: School Amateur Radio Clubs

March 2017: A Speech Synthesiser for the Yaesu FT-817

April 2017: AIS Saves Lives!

October 2017: Mini Satellite-Antenna Rotator Mk2
Achievements
We have also been successful in some Amateur Radio competitions and have received some Amateur Radio awards.
2014 - The Al Shawsmith Award for journalism for the best non-technical article published in Amateur Radio magazine in the previous calendar year. Julie Gonzales VK3FOWL and Joe Gonzales VK3YSP for “The International Museums Weekend at the Melbourne Museum”. Published in AR magazine, September 2014.


2017 - The Al Shawsmith Award for journalism for the best non-technical article published in Amateur Radio magazine in the previous calendar year. Julie Gonzales VK3FOWL and Joe Gonzales VK3YSP for “ANZAC Day Amateur Radio Special Event". Published in AR magazine, August 2016.


2018 - The President's Commendation Award in recognition of an exceptional or memorable achievement in the calendar year by a radio amateur. Julie Gonzales VK3FOWL and Joe Gonzales VK3YSP for "Promotion of Amateur Radio in schools, engaging youth and school communities, and sharing their projects and findings with the amateur community."


2018 - The Ron Higginbotham Award for service to the amateur radio community. Julie Gonzales VK3FOWL and Joe Gonzales VK3YSP for "The strong promotion of amateur radio to younger people through the School Amateur Radio Club Network program together with their many activities in the broader amateur community encouraging amateurs to engage with youngsters."

On the weekend of 26 July 2014, Julie and I activated French Island OC-136 for the Islands On The Air (IOTA) contest. We made over 300 contacts and survived two, three-hour pile ups on 20m.
On the third weekend of August 2014, 2015 and 2016, Julie and I activated the Queenscliff White Lighthouse AU-0051 for the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend. Camping in front of the light house, we contacted 33, 29 and 24 other Lighthouses in Australia and New Zealand. Click here for more information.


International Museums Weekend Participation Certificate. Over two weekends in June 2014, Julie and I activated the Melbourne Museum. We exchanged speeches on-air with Mayor of Melville WA Cr Russell Aubrey at the opening of the WA VHF Group premises at the Wireless Hill Telecommunications Museum. Click here for more information.


International Museums Weekend Participation Certificate. Over two weekends in June 2015, Julie and I activated the Melbourne Museum.

Summits On The Air (SOTA)

First Place, 2013 John Moyle Field Day Contest - Six Hour, Portable, Single Operator, Phone Only, HF Only with 168 contacts and a score of 336 points. Running on the car battery in the pouring rain from a secluded hill in Gippsland Victoria. Click here for more information.

First Place, 2014 John Moyle Field Day Contest - Six Hour Portable, Single Operator, Phone Only, HF Only with 155 contacts and a score of 310 points. Running on solar power during a violent electrical storm from the summit of Mount Donna Buang. Click here for more information.


Second Place, 2015 John Moyle Field Day Contest - Six Hour Portable, Single Operator, Phone Only, HF Only with 222 contacts and a score of 444 points, my personnal best. Fine weather this time, but starting a bit late from the summit of Mount Donna Buang.  Click here for more information.


Fifth Place, 2020 John Moyle Field Day Contest - Six Hour, Home Station, Single Operator, Phone Only, HF Only with 50 contacts and a score of 88 points. While in lock-down during the COVID-19 pandemic. Julie and Joe, running 10 Watts from their home station, each get the same score. Julie even gets a participation certificate!

Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Grand Slam Award for succcessfully activating and chasing all 45 national parks in Victoria. (Julie and Joe)
For the World Wide Flora and Fauna Contest, the WWFF 88 Hunter Award

For the World Wide Flora and Fauna Australia Contest, the VKFF Top Activator Award for 2013




For the World Wide Flora and Fauna Australia Contest the VKFF Activator Silver Award and the VKFF Hunter Gold Award

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