With a great enthusiasm over 20 people attended a meeting on June 6th 1979 , which saw the formation of this club. About 80% of those attending were newcomers to the hobby, they were typical of the radio amateurs born out of the CB boom. Fank Reardon VK3NMY, the founding secretary, suggested the club’s name. Other committee members elected were Jim GoyneVK3BNM, Barry HallidayV3KBR and Graham Stevens VK3ZSQ.
The club had its early beginnings back in the 60s when radio amateurs in the Goulburn Valley, north central Victoria, had their net on 80 meters. The hook-up continued for many years before interest waned and it lapsed.
In the mid 70s the CB radio boom was heading for it’s peak and the Novice Licence was introduced, the local TAFE College organized several local radio amateurs to run a Novice course, but despite initially attracting a large number, many gave it away leaving only eight dedicated souls determined to get the Novice ticket. Most passed their examinations at their first attempt, while the reminder were successful at their second attempt.
With the encouragement of TAFE staff, the majority then formed a self-help group with the intention of passing the AOCP. By mid 1979, the self-helpers had achieved their aim. It seems those who had participated formed a human bond and wanted to continue meeting socially. The obvious way was to form a radio club.
A meeting was convened at the PACE building in Shepparton, by Jim Scott VK3KFD, who was elected the club’s inaugural president. Soon after it’s formation the club became a member of WIA. The first organized activity for SADARC was the Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) weekend of 1979. After the address by John Watters (who later become VK3PXJ) the club members set up portable stations at local scout halls.
Striking while the enthusiasm was still running hot, Graham VK3ZSQ raised the issue of the local repeater. Wayne VK3XQA speaking from CB activity experience knew, that Mt Wombat, near Euroa and Mt Major were the ideal sites. Mount Wombat provides access to the Goulburn Valley, southern New South Wales and large areas of Melbourne After considerable volunteer effort and support from various parties the hut was built on Mt Wombat to house VK3RGV repeater, which started operation in 1982. The early members were wise enough to leave space for expantion, the hut accommodates now 70cm and packet repeaters as well as other services.
One of the highlights in the club’s history was a launch of a balloon on Saturday 23rd of May 1992 with various test and radio equipment onboard. More information about the event is on the page Balloon Launch.
The club has been generous in supporting various groups in their projects by donating the money or the equipment. The biggest event on the SADARC calendar is the Hamfest in September. This single day activity ideally located in the north central Victoria consistently attracts high attendance from throughout the State, from southern New South Wales and South Australia. SADARC is an active and progressive club willing to speak its mind on issues affecting the hobby, and play its part to further the pursuit of communications hobby.
Shepparton And District Amateur Radio Club launched a voice weather balloon on Saturday 23rd of May 1992. This has created a lot of excitement among local amateurs, they were tracking it, reporting it’s signal and following it’s path on the map.
The flight proved most succesfull and provided more than 100 reports with the best distance being more than 1200 kilometers. The winds took the balloon in a northeasterly direction, the highest recorded reading was at 65000 feet over Wagga in NSW. At this altitude the balloon is believed to have burst, causing it’s parachute to open.
The package floated to the ground and landed approximately 1km from the road in the pine plantation on the Lower Bago Road, near Courabyra, NSW. It’s resting place eluded keen followers for almost 72 hours. On Wednesday 27th May 1992, David VK2OC and XYL Sue, together with Trevor VK2ACZ and Terry VK2ETR spotted missing package with binoculars. They made their way into the plantation and recovered remains of the balloon, radar reflector and parachute from one tree and the radio package from another, in good condition and undamaged.
The $100 bounty for the return of the package was increased to $200 by Peter VK3MU in a spontaneous gesture. The main purpose of the exercise was the flight itself, the recovery was a bonus to the event organizers. SADARC has expressed grateful thanks to the recovery team and all who participated in the activities. There will be some photos available and possibly a video, so come back soon.