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I became fascinated with radio and electronics as a youngster when I found a copy of a 1963 ARRL Handbook in my dad's small collection of technical books. He worked as an instrument fitter and had a general interest in electronics. I remember that he had some audio projects in one corner of the garage that never did get finished for some reason. He once built a crystal set for me which I was totally amazed with, until after some tinkering, I managed to 'break' it!
I also recall as a 10 year old, turning the pages of that 1963 handbook and imagining, that one day I'll be a radio amateur and building one of those transmitters and receiver circuits described in the book. Back then I was not sure of the difference between a transmitter and receiver when looking at the circuits. I did not just want to talk on 'the radio' but I wanted to know how to build my own. I could have gone down the CB radio path if all I was interested in doing was talking to the guy down the road!
A few years later when I was 14 dad took me to a local radio club at Maitland and we both enrolled in a study course which was held one evening each week. We both passed the final test a few months later although dad did better than me. After that there was not much radio activity for a couple of years until I turned 16 and sat for the Limited Amateur Operators Certificate of Profficiency exam at the Radio Inspector's Office in Newcastle. I passed this exam and applied for a callsign and was granted VK2YAU in 1973. Since then I have held the callsigns VK2GME, VK4CGM before acquiring VK2FC around 1999. My original certificate is pictured below.
Since leaving school I've spent most of my working life in the electronics & communications industry. My 1st job as a 20 year old and qualified tradesman was with a two-way radio service company called Communico Australia Pty. Ltd. and located in Newcastle, NSW. That was late 1976. I landed this job with the help of a ham who I had met on 2 metres FM and worked at Communico. He got me a successful interview with the business owner. Soon after I started, Communico began the manufacture of its own brand VHF FM two-way radio with a small factory based in Newcastle. The radio was known as the Communico 250. The design engineer was the late Ken Nisbet (VK2KP) and the General Manager was the late John Bays (VK2SB) who were both based in Sydney. We had branches in Gosford (south of Newcastle) as well as two in the Sydney suburbs of Artarmon and Smithfield. A dealer network was gradually built up throughout the east coast. In 1980, the sales, service and manufacturing business was purchased by Wormald International and the name changed to Wormald Communications. Wormald already owned a 2-Way manufacturing business in Perth. I stayed on until late 1986 when I decided to move on as the business was going to be sold again. I held the position of Manager East Coast when I left the company as a 30 year old. I had a great time during those 10 years and learned much about many things including technical and administrative processes.
Limited Amateur Operators Certificate of Proficiency