INTERVIEW WITH VK6WG, WALLY GREEN
By Bob Elms VK6BE
HELLO WALLY AND HOW IS EVERYTHING GOING?
Yes not too bad at
all Bob. I can still talk and look after myself mostly.
I don't know of anyone older at the moment.
IF IT'S NOT A RUDE QUESTION HOW OLD ARE YOU NOW?
That's a burning question when you teeth fall out you are getting on. Well I'll be 100 years old in August of this year.
WELL YOU WILL SOON GET A LETTER FROM THE QUEEN.YOUR ABSORBING INTEREST IN AMATEUR RADIO HAS BEEN VHF AND UPWARDS. ON WHICH OF THE HIGHER BANDS CAN YOU TRANSMIT AND RECEIVE?
10gHz, 5760, 3456, 2304 1296 432 144 59 meg and down the HF bands
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR MOST UNUSUAL CONTACT?
I think the one that gave me a thrill was one night when I was working Reg, VK5QR and he was receiving me on a piece of wire. So we tried 476 and that was good. We went to 2304, 3456 and that was as far as we could go at that time. That night we got on 3456 but that was as far as we got that night.
DO YOU STILL HOLD LONG DISTANCE RECORDS FOR ANY OF THOSE HIGHER BANDS. I KNOW YOU NOW HAVE THE 144 INTERSTATE RECORD FOR AUSTRALIA WITH THE CONTACTS WITH VK2.
IN FACT YOU TOOK THE RECORD FROM ME. I HELD IT FOR JUST ONE YEAR. YOU BEAT ME BY 3 Khz, I mean KM.
Ha Ha! We are getting mixed up as we get older.!
Some of Wally's old valve collection such as 01A
Some very old wireless parts..."Note the cats whisker"
DO YOU REMEMBER THAT YOU AND I HAD THE FIRST RECORDED CONTACT ON AURORA IN WEST AUSTRALIA IN CONJUNCTION WITH ROLO VK6BO? THE CONTACT WAS ON 6 METRES BETWEEN MILING AND ALBANY IN 1958 AT THE HEIGHT OF THAT SUNSPOT CYCLE. ROLO TOLD ME MY FINAL WAS TAKING OFF BUT IT TURNED OUT TO BE AURORAL BUZZ. THAT'S ANOTHER RECORD YOU HOLD JOINTLY WITH ME!
I had three until the Yanks upped their power and got into Honolulu.I remember the time but I didn't keep much record on that as I was more interested in going higher and higher.
Oil cooled 1296 PA
I RECENTLY HEARD YOU TELLING A STORY ABOUT YOUR EXPLOITS WITH FORD SPARK COILS AND A MALE RELATIVE. GIVE US THE STORY AGAIN WILL YOU?
Yes that sticks in my mind and I can see it in my head now. He was interested in my elder sister and I was playing with my Ford coil and I decided to see what would happen with this bloke. There was a couch along the side wall. I connected the coil to a battery and connected to two pieces of enamel covered wire. And put it under a piece of news paper. The Ford coil would send a spark an inch long. It would go through newspaper with no trouble at all. When he sat down I turned the coil on. He just rose straight up into the air. If his pants had been paper they would been set on fire. He said, " Marconi you brute." But he still married my sister.
YOU HAVE BUILT ALL YOUR OWN UHF AND ABOVE GEAR?
Yes I built my own gear including the converters. Sent overseas for the hot diodes, One cost me $90. If you take some photos you could see it. I still have some in the shack. I sent two to a ham in the US who needed one. He sent me a little amplifier. You can get a photo of that if you want one. That gave me two watts.
3456 MHz equipment
I HAVE SEEN SOME OF THE GEAR AND IT IS BEAUTIFULLY MADE. I NOTICED THAT MOST IF NOT ALL OF THE METALWORK IS SILVER PLATED. WHY?
It's better for conductivity especially for the resonant circuits.
HOW DO YOU DO THE SILVER PLATING?
I went to the chemist and said I want some cyanide. He didn't say it was restricted. I got some silver nitrate, just a touch of soda. I had a glass jar and I used that and a plating bath. I got some silver plate and cut a piece big enough, cleaned it with pumice powder. I gave it 2 volts and it comes out with a nice white finish.
Yes it was electrolysis.
Silver plated 1296 MHz receiver converter
WHAT GAVE YOU THESE SKILLS? WHAT WAS YOUR WORK?
Well I just got the skills. I copper plated too using copper sulphate.
End of interview by Bob Elms VK6BE
Wally is still active on VHF and above, maintaining a lively an active interest in amateur radio in the VHF, UHF and above.
He can be heard working 144 mHz into the east during an opening, then moving to 432mHz and on up the various higher frequencies. He still looks after himself, living alone, and as we said he will be 100 in August of this year.
A collection of photographs of VK6WG antennas and QSL cards
VK6WG dish antennas 1980s
VK6WG dish antennas 1981
VK6WG Antenna farm.....2011
VK6WG main antenna tower showing top antennas...2011
QSL cards provided by Wally Howes VK6KZ
1st ever two way QSO interstate on 1296 MHz
1st ever two way QSO interstate on 2304 MHz
2nd ever two way QSO interstate on 2304 MHz
Email from Wally to Dave Handscomb VK6ATE
When I was about 8-10 years old, I was living at Mt.Barker with my parents, and I heard that there was a Radio demonstration at the Mt.Barker Cold Store - this was to listen to the station 6WF on the long wave that was then used, around the early '20s. I think the set may have been a Batyphone or Mulgaphone. As you can guess, plenty of static and a bit of music, so I went home satisfied that I had heard Radio, & it sparked the desire to make a radio myself.
A friend of mine who lived next door to us had in his possession a valve, I had been been given a small steam engine & boiler which was a toy, but worked, so a level swap was made & I now had the start to my own radio. Other parts were needed, so it took some time to complete the set, which by the way was mounted in a petrol case box. In those days, petrol came in 2x4 gallon square tins, sometimes referred to as Kero tins that was packed the same as petrol (No bowsers in those days!) Some time around 1924 my parents shifted to Albany. Along with myself was my valve & my KINK to complete the famous 1 valve Reinartz Radio. Now a petrol case had to be obtained, so I walked from my home in Victoria Street (opposite to where I am now living) to York Street to Mr.Bill Knotwho sold petrol in cases. It was dark, so he lit up his lamp & I followed him into the petrol shed, I remember him walking quietly & sneaking slowly & saying "Any moment we may be blown to hell".
Looking back on the risk now, I really don't know why it didn't happen, as leaky tins & fumes were well evident. This was the start of the 'listening' bug. As knowledge grew, I now had to make radio waves myself. As I scrounged about, I eventually got a tuning condenser, grid leaks & other fixed capacitors, bits of wood for a base, lead pencil for a grid leak, which was cut at different places along to fasten a wire to get different values for best results. (Lead pencils were only used in Home-made receivers) The valve used was a 201A on 6v & DC mains, 220volt, so I assembled my first TPAG transmitter. My only test to see if it was working was a torch globe on a loop of wire. Presto, as soon as I saw RF & being so excited, I ran flat-out to my friend Bert Russel to tell him I had found RF. So I came back & then thought I would have to make it talk somehow, so a Carbon insert was obtained from the original 6DA - Fred Saw - who worked at the Albany Post Office. Now for the good thing to happen, so a loop of wire was fastened to the terminals & partly inserted between the plate circuit coil and the valve, and talk into it. With a short lead, you had to be very careful not to let your lips touch the metal case, as you would get RF burns so a mouth organ was used, with little or no announcements, as this was really pirating the airwaves. I HAD LISTENERS WHO SAID THIS WAS GOOD. The safest way now was to go for an Amateur Licence. I then used to visit the original 6KZ at The Forts & talk radio. I got my first QST in 1932 and my licence in 1936.
Now to some of your queries:
The first Club station was located in Dymesbury Livery Stables, located where now stands the CWS Water Supply offices in Serpentine Rd. Albany and I always believed the Callsign was VK6AY. I used to go there, but didn't operate it (the station).
Personalities I remember are :
Then VK6AR, later VK2AUY (in 1992 C/B)
Fred Saw 6DA
licensed ? Forts
There may be others I've forgotten
Now I would like you to write to an old friend Bert Russel who was VK6AR now still licenced as VK2AUY
QTR in 1992 CallBook. If & when you do, please pass on my 73 (Best wishes!) to him - he will no doubt put you right as to the original Callsign of the Albany Club Station.
(I wrote soon after receiving this - so far, no reply! Dave)
No, I wasnt the W.Green of the Victoria Park Club.
I did have a QSL (card) of the original 6KZ - not sure where to lay my hands on it at the moment, but I have other old cards which may help you.
If I was talking to you it would be much easier than me writing, as many other things would come to mind.
Trusting you will get some help from this lot,
73, Wally VK6WG