At the kind invitation of Richard VK3VRS, Amateur Radio Victoria members, Julie VK3FOWL and Joe VK3YSP, provided their School Amateur Radio Club Network exhibition at Melbourne's Train and Hobby Show.
This well-organised show is held every year at Sandown Racecourse. It attracts many thousands of visitors, each day, over the long weekend in March.
The exhibition included a large presentation area for children, including a parent's gallery. On display was electronics, soldering techniques, Morse code including take home kits and free catalogues provided by Jaycar and Altronics. Four public workshops were scheduled each day over the three day event.
Julie said, "The responce from the public to Amateur Radio is always very positive, particularly when it is directed at engaging youngsters in electronics and radio technologies, but what always suprises me is their interest in Morse code. We ran Morse cde workshops and provided many Morse code practice sets to both adults and children. The sound of CW seems to work like a magnet."
Joe added, "The interactive on-air Amateur Radio demonstration ws very popular too. We use small handheld FM radios, to show just how easy it is to get on the air and a portable sideband transceiver with a laptop to demonstrate modern digital modes of communication. We have to cater for a generation of very computer-savvy kids. They all say it sounds like R2D2 and they want to try it themselves."
The husband and wife team said they also had a lot of interest froom school teachers and parents responding to Julie's School Amateur Radio Club display, featuriing many photos of primary school students happily engaged in Amateur Radio activities.
"Teachers often need assistance promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to students and Amateur Radio is a great resource. We often go to schools and run free STEM workshops using Amateur Radio. But we can only do so much ourselves. We are always trying to encourage other Amateur Radio clubs and individuals to do the same."
The team would like to congratulate the Gippsland Gate and Electronics Club for their own fine Amateur Radio display and their help with on-air participation at the show. Also to thank Tony VK3XV from MTA for providing wireless microphones and PA equipment for the exhibition and to Anthony VK3YSA for providing an additional sideband transceiver.
Opening the venue to Amateur Radio would not have been possible without the inspiration and dedication of show manager, Richard VK3VRS and his army of volunteers.
Julie and Joe can be contacted at the School Amateur Radio Club Network