Darwin Amateur Radio Club
The first meeting of the Darwin Amateur Radio Club was held on 7 November 1966. The Darwin Amateur population at that time consisted mainly of Government workers who had transferred for a 2 or 3 year posting from interstate. While the general population of Darwin today is less transient than in earlier years, membership of the club has remained at about 25 with numbers only occasionally rising as high as 50.
A home for the club has from the first meeting been an ongoing issue with the first meetings held at private homes. Over the years the club has met at various locations around the city, from August 1975 the club met in an underground Civil Defense Bunker that had been built during the Indonesian confrontation. The bunker was cyclone proof but became damp and musty during Darwin’s wet seasons. The facility came complete with a two cylinder Lister diesel standby generator. Classes for the Amateur Operators Certificate of proficiency were run by the Darwin Community College at the bunker and equipment was purchased by the college to set up the first club station, the equipment included a Yaesu FT101E HF transceiver with a Yaesu 6 Meter transverter and an Icom IC22 2 meter FM transceiver. In late 1977 the College ceased classes at the bunker and the equipment had to be returned.
In February 1978 the Civil Defense Bunker was handed back to Emergency Services and the facility was upgraded for their use. The club Met for a time at Casuarina high School before moving to an old WWII building on the East Point reserve in 1979. Numerous working bees made the building habitable, but security was a major issue with constant vandalism due to the remote location. Beacons were housed in an adjacent building with antennas on a 30 foot freestanding mast mounted to the concrete roof. A 20 Meter beam antenna was also erected at the site on a 2 section guyed Hills winch up mast. This location was officially opened By the Hon Nick Dondas the speech broadcast and monitored in Adelaide by the WIA. Adjacent to the east point reserve the Darwin Model Aircraft association has their club facility so operation on 10 meters was an issue with interference from our transmissions causing loss of control of model aircraft.
After being asked by the government to vacate the east point facility the club met for a short period in a tavern. In 1983 the club was granted the use of a large room in the Fannie Bay Sports House facility, this facility was previously a Department of Health stores building. The club remained in this location for 30 years, this long term home allowed members to accumulate a very large quantity of equipment and general ham radio junk. All of this treasured junk became a huge issue when the club was asked to vacate the facility as the building was to be demolished to make way for an affordable housing development. Sports House was demolished in 2013, the Darwin Amateur Radio Club was again looking for a new home.
Ready to find out more?