Westlakes first 50
Years - Part 4
But it did not take that
long for the elimination of Morse to take place. From 1
January 2004, the ACA announced that Morse
qualifications ceased to be needed for access to the HF
bands under 30MHz. This was the biggest change to the
hobby since the introduction of the Limited Licence or
Novice Licensees gaining access to 2 metres.
So welcome to 2004 and Westlakes 40th Anniversary year. A Function
Committee was formed to plan of activities for this
milestone. Special coffee mugs in black and gold
commemorating the year were procured, a 40 Year Radio
Contest was held Australia-wide, and a 40th Anniversary
Christmas Dinner was organised. The venue was the public
hall on the waterfront at Marmong Point. The event was a
great success with 66 members attending and enjoying a
spit-roast dinner. At this function, a special
presentation award was made to ?The Clubman of the
Year". It was won by Neil VK2KYG.
The ACA was not the only body to make 2004 a year of change. The
Wireless Institute of Australia underwent a radical
restructure after a grass root movement from its
members. The State based divisions were dissolved and a
"One WIA" or a single National WIA emerged. Part of the
change was the commencement of a weekly National News
Broadcast using the callsign VK1WIA and a imminent
change was flagged that would affect Westlakes - the
creation of one National QSL Bureau.
In August 2004, the decision was made for the club to enter the
International Lighthouse/ Lightship Weekend Contest. Ten
members participated, operating from a donated caravan
which was parked near the Norah Head Lighthouse at the
Norah Head Search and Rescue Base. Using the club call
VK2ATZ this group made 225 contacts including 24
lighthouses and a maritime museum.
2004 also saw the revitalisation of mid-week activities at
Westlakes. What started as dribble of newer members on a
Tuesday evening, developed into a solid, regular group
of up to twenty or so who were busy in all manner of
radio operation and repairs. Together with the bumper
attendances on Saturday afternoons, the club had never
Next came the restoration of the 85 ft radio mast in the swamp,
last used many years before as a vertical antenna for
160 metres. It had fallen into an unusable condition
through lack of maintenance and the ravages of time.
Paul VK2BPL , Col VK2YP, and Brian VK2BI set to work and
with a new matching network and coax feedline it was
back on air in October 2004, relaying the club?s weekly
news sessions. But within three months, the Lake
Macquarie City Council started the much-needed ?5
Bridges Road? duplication which raised the water level
in the ?swamp? and the tower base and matching network
went underwater. The 160 metre antenna was quickly
turned into an inverted V dipole. And at the beginning
of 2005, the ?Stone the Crows Net? chalked up session
2005 was the year which was seen by some as the "beginning of the
and by others as the start of something great for
amateur radio. The event was the introduction of only
three licence classes - Foundation, Standard, and
Advanced. The Foundation Licence was the greatest change
and a radically new method of assessment. Awkward
four-letter ?F? call signs were introduced for the
In 2006, the International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend was
attended by club members for the third year in a row and
it was the best one yet. The venue was the lighthouse at
Norah Head and Central Coast Tourism assisted by
producing flyers, local ABC radio broadcast interviews,
and a television news crew from NBN televised the event.
It was great publicity for Westlakes and amateur radio.
There have been eleven life members at Westlakes. The first was J B
McLachlan in 1984, Eric Brockbank VK2EZB in 1987, Greg
Smith VK2CW in 1996, and Paul Lorentzen VK2ATR, Alex
Efimov VK2ZM, Les Payne VK2ZPA, Frank Mike VK2ZL, in
2002, David Myers VK2RD,
Geoff Clark VK2EO, Peter Sturt VK2ZTV (honorary), all in
2008, Frank Lusa in 2009.
Most of us take club activities for granted. Examples are the local
Sunday news broadcasts which attract twenty-plus call
backs every week. Another is our monthly magazine - and
there is a lot of work to produce that. The burden for
both these tasks fell on Frank VK2FJL who proved to be a
real "find" and Westlakes Magazine improved out of
bounds during the five years of Frank?s editorship.
Then there are the radio theory classes run several times a year.
Countless local amateurs hold the licences today thanks
to theses courses. There have been many lecturers over
the years, Keith VK2AKX and Paul VK2ATR being the
foremost. The task of Education Office was taken over by
Paul VK2HMV and then Keith VK2PKT. In 2004 the club
moved to a course of video lectures by Ron Bertrand
VK2DQ which proved very popular.
Not many will know that the nightly slow Morse practice sessions on
80 metres was run entirely by Westlakes members 7 days a
week, 365 days a year, operating as VK2BWI on behalf of
the WIA. These operators gave their time willingly for
15 years to help others pass the dreaded Morse code.
Unfortunately time took its toll and most of the
operators became silent keys leaving the slow Morse
practice reduced to two nights a week.
By 2006, the Foundation Licence had arrived and training had
dramatically changed. Keith VK2PKT took over the role of
Education Officer and within three months, there were 16
new club members sporting four letter ?F? calls,
including Jessica Cobby VK2FJES, who at 9 years of age
was the youngest licensed amateur in New South Wales.
In March 2006, one of our life members - Frank Mike VK2ZL passed
away suddenly only a few hours after attending Westlakes
sorting QSL cards. Frank was a popular figure at the
club and carried out much work behind the scenes. At the
AGM of 2006, our President, Geoff VK2EO, retired from
the position after many years of outstanding service.
Unanimously elected as President was Frank VK2FJL as
well as is role as Broadcast Officer and Editor.
Another facility awaiting members at the club is the Store where
all manner of bits and pieces - new and second hand -
await a good home. A lasting service has been the
canteen. It has gone through and burnt out a gamut of
dedicated helpers. In 2006, a new Canteen Manageress,
Gloria Brown, took charge of affairs - a welcome upgrade
all around. You can get hot pies, cold drinks, ice
creams - never missed until they are not there. The
canteen has provided lavish spreads after each AGM,
tasty specials each month, and everyday tea and coffee.
At the AGM in 2007, another shake-up for the club occurred.
Virtually all previous office bearers were displaced and
a new team set out to administer the affairs of the
organisation with new zeal and a fresh interpretation of
the Westlakes Constitution. Although these changes were
not popular with some members, there was no denying that
the new management team was democratically elected with
an overwhelming mandate. Results and time would judge
the wisdom of the change.
It did not take long for the biggest upheaval and upset in the
club?s history to take place. The AGM of 2008 could be
best described as a ?Donnybrook?. The election results
of office bearers, the conduct of the ballot, the
proprietary of the Returning Officer - all were called
into question. Solicitors, legal action, and
heavens-knows-what else were promised. 2008 seemed
destined to become the worst year in Westlakes 44 year
In 2009 things settled down - they had to. A new team of office
bearers took over, and the club adopted a new
constitution and operating procedures that would ensure
the drama of the previous year could not reoccur. The
long-standing standing treasurer of 11 years, Les
VK2ZPA, did not seek election at the AGM of 2009. After
years of promises, air conditioning finally arrived for
the canteen and the store much to the relief of those
occupants. The club?s Field Day in November was voted
the best ever - our radio club was ?on the rails? once
Westlakes could never have been sustained if not for the support of
its members. Every one of the hundreds of faces have
played some roll in the club. Although some individuals
have contributed so much, it is the multitude that has
kept it al together and ticking over.
The club has mutated over time from a purely radio orientated
organisation to something more diverse today. Many
attend the club just for a chat and a social retreat.
Something is always happening. Talk can range from slow
scan television, computers, IRLP technology, radio
propagation, chooks, and football.
Then again, that's what a good club is all about - it's fun to be
there. The amazing thing is that the camaraderie seems
stronger than ever and Westlakes thrives on it.
Remember, /Progress Through Activity/ and enjoy your
club into the future.
Eric VK2EZB, years
1964 to 1985 - Greg VK2CW,years 1986 to 2014
29-11-2014, additional information by Paul Linsley
who joined the club in it's inaugural year 1964.