In the beginning
During the Christmas period of 1966, a group of members from the Mountain and District Radio Group (a local civil defence amateur organization) decided that the Eastern area badly needed a local Amateur Radio Club to give an opportunity for amateurs and SWLs with a mutual interest in the art of radio to get together and have regular meetings. The rest is history.
Late in December 1966, a group consisting of John Beckett VK3FE, Ken McLachlan VK3ZDK (later VK3AH), Jack Gutcher VK3APU and John Wilson VK3LM, met and decided to search through the current Callbook and list the names and addresses of all licenced amateurs in the area bounded by Box Hill, Box Hill North, Lilydale and Ferntree Gully. A circular was then despatched to these amateurs (70 in all) inviting them to attend the first meeting.
Friday evening, February 24th, 1967, saw the inaugural meeting of an enthusiastic group who met in the school rooms at Mooroolbark Technical School. On that evening approximately 50 future members of the organization met and it was decided to name the group The Eastern and Mountain District Radio Club. It was also decided that the temporary Foundation Committee carry on in office until such time as the Constitution was drawn up and permanent office bearers elected. A Committee comprising Ken McLachlan, Jack Gutcher, Ken Constable, Reg Durrant, John Beckett and John Wilson was formed to accept the presented copy of the Moorabbin & District Radio Club’s Constitution and alter it to apply to the EMDRC.
The Thursday morning group gathering
Today its history
Monthly club nights at which it is usual to have an excellent guest speaker, are held on the first Friday of each month. On the third Friday, at a somewhat less formal gathering, commonly referred to as the club room meeting, members have the opportunity to increase their technical knowledge and skills or just engage in some friendly chit chat over a cup of coffee.
Over the years, EMDRC members have often taken a leading approach to new technologies and special interests such as satellite communications, computing, enhanced data transmission and the Internet communications have been familiar topics in the monthly club meeting.
Club members have contributed towards providing extended communications for amateurs, particularly those located in the eastern suburbs and hill districts, by establishing and maintaining a VHF voice repeater – VK3REC.
A number of members regularly participate in various contests sponsored by the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) and kindred international organisations. Weekend pilgrimages are made annually to selected locations from which the club station VK3ER is activated in the contest mode. Club station VK3ER holds a regular club radio net and has operated for many years on 2 meters. To encourage contacts with its members, the club sponsors the Southern Cross Award, as evidenced by the unique certificates which now grace the walls of many ‘ham shacks’ around the world.
Although primarily serving the eastern side of Melbourne and the Dandenongs, the club’s membership, which currently stands at over 200, is drawn from a wide area including country Victoria, interstate, and even overseas. The assistance and encouragement freely given to new members, and particularly to beginners, engenders the spirit which has made belonging to the EMDRC something of which members can be justifiably proud. The club runs amateur radio classes as needed, which attract students of all ages.
President Jack receiving the club D-ATV transmitter
More information over the years
The club has compiled a document that contains a year by year account of the clubs activities. Thanks to Gwen Tilson VK3DYL for compiling the first edition in 2003 and to Peter Hartfield VK3PH for the second edition updated in 2016.
To download a PDF copy of the document EMDRC History