VK6RTH History


History post construction

Letter to Pioneer Concrete asking for permission to use their land...No date on letter but was early 1980's
Application letter

Tic-Hill 1981


As told by Jill Weaver VK6YL -- Part one
Added and edited by Will VK6UU

Jill VK6YL on the shovel at Tic Hill

The two major 2 metre repeaters in Perth, the capital of Western Australia, have been co-sited at Roleystone for several years due to the lack of a suitable area North of Perth.

Early one Sunday morning in February 1981, five members set out to explore an area chosen in which we would like to re-locate Ch 4 repeater. We found a rather nice hill (or small mountain - we don't have anything to shout about over here) and spent around 2 hours climbing it. Whilst at the top we discovered Kangaroo Tic's about our persons - most unpleasant as the large female can kill you - ugh! - we decided to call it Mount Tic or Tic Hill. 

Two weeks later a team took the portable repeater VK6REE to the site with a 40' antenna, a full day was spent with members of the group driving around giving signal reports, which were plotted. The resulting map showed Tic Hill would be ideal for our needs.

Testing Tic Hill

The first radio test of Tic Hill

The Titles Office was searched, the owners of the land located, and when approached gave us permission to use the site for an indefinite period.

The group already owned two free-standing towers, one for the wind generator being 40', and the other for the antennae being 100 feet high. One of our members is a Structural Consulting Engineer so we were fortunate to have his plans and advice as to how to go about constructing concrete bases for the towers as the hill consists mainly of gravelly rock.

A 4WD only track up the hill was ascended by around fifteen workers for the next seven Sundays, clearing the site, digging the rocks which proved to be larger than anticipated.

Being towed out

This is the original track to Tic Hill, from the Western side and it was 4WD but some did attempt it in 2WD, with mixed success. Trevor made it in a Dalphine (best guess of name)....?...Photograph below.


This is the only 2WD car to make it up the Western track

Tic Hill site early days

Early photograph of Tic Hill during site testing and evaluation.
The brick hut is about where the two amateurs in front of the vehicle are standing.

VK6RTH as it was

This is how Tic Hill looked before there had been any clearing. Looking SSW from the access road the tree in the centre is about where the large rock is in the car park.

VK6RTH First day

Beginning site clearing at Tic Hill VK6RTH...Adrian VK6CU looking at camera

The photograph above could well be day one, site clearing at Tic Hill. The scrub and a couple of dead trees had to be cleared before an assessment could be made as to where best to put the antenna tower and the wind generator tower.

Cutting down tree

Looking from the normal drive in to the site, the tree about to be cut down would be about where the big rock at Tic Hill is now.

VK6RTH pic axe

Will VK6UU left and Trevor VK6MS pic axing away...We did a lot of this.

For the final three Sundays a Jackhammer was hired, the Construction Gang soon appeared fitter than was thought, muscles have begun to grow along with the enthusiasm.  The jack hammer shown below was petrol driven and had problems and the hired electric one replaced it.

VK6RTH Jack Hammer

This Petrol driven jack hammer had problems. I think it belonged to Ilmar, VK6ZIB.


The hired electric driven jack hammer a "Kanga", Owen VK6OW hammering.

For several weeks the workers dug, crow bared, pick axed and even dug with there hands to remove the rock and gravel for the tower foundations, but it became more and more obvious that it could not be done without some mechanical help. The jack hammer above was hired each weekend and ran almost non stop.

Charlie working

Charlie VK6ZCK helping with the foundation survey work. Missed his coffee break.

Pleas went out on the Local News Broadcast for galvanized iron and wood to make the forming, the Amateurs of Perth were most generous and finally the trenches were ready for the concrete.


There was considerable technical discussion about earthing the site, as being on the top of a hill, the 100' mast would from time to time most likely be struck by lightning.

For more information on earthing the site, have a look at..... Earthing Tic Hill

VK6RTH form work

Form work and re-bar ready for the concrete pore

Wind tower form work

Working on the wind generator form work

The cement

The owners of the adjacent Quarry had offered us the use of their stationary cement mixer, blue metal for free, water and a Hoff 80 B front end loader with a 4 cu m capacity bucket to transport the mixed cement up to our site. The main problem was that the only accessible track was around three miles, 4WD only, yet cruelly the main quarry road was but a few minutes down the steep side of the hill. We diplomatically pointed this out to the Owners who did something wonderful - they put a road through for us which now allows a conventional vehicle to drive right up to the top, they also gave us access to their locked gate to make it possible to do this. We call this "Tic Highway", currently a sign is being constructed in the Quarry colours which also thanks the firm.

By concocting a rather good request letter, aided by many phone calls we have received donations of 130 bags of cement from two firms, with the aid of 4WD's, trailers and a small truck these now are located under a tarpaulin on site. 1000 feet of 1" re-enforcing bar has been donated, some of this reposes in the trenches whilst the rest will be placed between the double brick walls of the shack for security purposes. 

We will be forming the pad and the "hat" for the shack when we pour the concrete, and would like to express our gratitude to the Cement and Concrete association for their time and books, and also the Customer Service Chemist of another organization for his personal visit and literature. Weld mesh has been donated for the hat/pad and security, this has been cut up with borrowed bolt cutters and is ready for pouring day - "C" day - the 6th of June (1981). 

Sand has been ordered, an operator for the weigh batcher in which we can measure the quantities of cement - 15 cu metres of it - has volunteered, work has been done on the second hand antenna tower with the bottom section being re-constructed and galvanised, both bases up to 15 feet now reside in the prepared trenches.

A worrying thing happened last week, we discovered that the Firm had sold their cement mixer, fortunately a tame cement truck and driver has been found for a reasonable amount of db per hour, the truck will be able to pour directly into the holes whilst members shovel and vibrate it around. Another firm has donated the lifting hooks for the roof of the shack which when cured and the brickwork completed will be lifted with borrowed equipment on top. Another firm has donated the 6dB gain co-linear antenna in exchange for some of our technical knowledge about cavities. All is in readiness for "C" day which is in three days time, please cross your fingers that it doesn’t rain...... to be continued.......


As told by Jill Weaver VK6YL -- Part two

The events leading up to Concrete pouring day "C" day were all explained in the first part of this saga, now it is "C" day minus one.

At 7.15 PM on Friday night we were informed that the intended cement truck had a damaged gear box, the readout for the weigh batching machine was needed urgently in the country and just to add to our worries the front end loader was required by the Quarry to replace another machine due for service.  Fortunately a substitute cement truck was arranged and Peter VK6PO burnt midnight oil constructing another readout for us to use.

Undaunted we proceeded. Over 20 of us arrived on site at 8.00 AM, Saturday the 6th of June (1981), compacted the sand and prepared the formwork for the shack floor and roof while all the time the rain clouds darkened above.   Simultaneously at 10.00 AM the Concrete truck, the Front end loader, and the rain arrived.   For four hours ingredients were weighed, mixed, poured, vibrated and shoveled by the very hard working team who thanked the truck driver at 2.00 PM and retired very wet, cold and soggy for lunch in the quarry shed. 

A lot of rain on the day of the concrete pour

Due to many gallons of water laying on top of the concrete it was impossible to trowel it over.   It was covered with donated plastic and the cleaning up process then began.   Meanwhile my OM Bob (not an Amateur) who had driven the loader all day, continued to ferry excess blue metal and sand to the hill - filling in potholes on "Tic Highway" and leveling out "sump-crushing" rocks until the track became too slippery and darkness fell.   Around 8.00 PM many very tired but elated people wended their weary way home; we had achieved step one of our goal.

People are wonderful … from several sources we acquired around 2000 bricks, 1400 new red ones with the balance second hand, which were transported to the site in borrowed trailers and cleaned by teams of Amateurs, wives and harmonics, who sounded like little elves with their picks and doonas.   Stan Robson, a bricklayer friend of one of our members volunteered to build the shack with our group doing the laboring.   Drums and trestles were lent by Amateurs, a door frame donated and vent bricks purchased.   We mixed the cement by hand for Stan who completed the shack in four working days and christened it "Ticky".   Please note that we call the site "Tic Hill".   We chose TIC in preference to Tick for originality.   Much trauma when the day came to lift the roof on top of Ticky … but with the aid of a crane - borrowed of course - this was achieved without any hitches.

Lifting Tic Hill Roof

Lifting Tic Hill Hut roof

Tic Hill shack roof

The concrete roof was poured on site on concrete day and once dry was lifted onto the brick shack. Note the hole for the cables.

Whilst Stan was bricklaying other members were hard at work removing the corrugated iron forming which left a beautiful crinkle cut finish to the concrete.     One of the most back-breaking jobs was that of refilling the rocks and gravel around the tower bases and leveling off the site.   Each week, work continued in an endeavor to return the area back to a natural contour to allow nature to take her course in time to come.

Ilmar VK6ZIB was in charge of the wind generator and tower which in no time grew above the trees to 40 feet high.   He spent many hours of his own time not only on the wind generator and attractively finished Zelamite panel housing the controls, fuses etc, but he prepared the piping for the co-ax and cables, the bench and many other things - thank you Ilmar.   

Ilmar working on wind gen

Ilmar did most of the wind generator figuring out and installation

VK6RTH Will and Ilmar

The large wind generator installed on top of the tower...Will left and Ilmar on right

VK6RTH Ilmar and Wind Generator

A moment of contemplation or prayer for Ilmar...?

Meanwhile other members worked on the 100' antenna tower.   We had to pick our days carefully as during winter the rain and winds were extremely strong - especially for the boys working around the 80' level of the tower. 

One calm Sunday afternoon we ran out of nuts and bolts.   We were very thrilled when we received a relay from the firm responsible for earlier donations to say they would meet us at their business premises and give us sufficient to complete the tower.

A tradition was set - hot potatoes at the end of each working day, cooked in foil in the coals of the fire originally intended to burn out a large tree stump.   Long after the stump had gone the fire was lit to provide warmth and a drying agent for the wet and weary:   Later we enjoyed making a small BBQ from the left over site materials and sausages were added to the menu.

We are greatly indebted to the brothers Kevin VK6AKW and Peter VK6PO with son Robert for their expertise throughout the project from beginning to end, especially with the main tower, liaison with many firms and hours of hard work.   Peter made a gin pole which allowed us to lift the very heavy tower top in place at the 100' level with the 22' 6dB gain Co-Linear antenna above this.

Top of VK6RTH tower

Winching up the top section of the main tower at Tic Hill

Our President Trevor, VK6MS had the unenviable task of designing and constructing innumerable items for the site.   His knowledge and organisation of materials, together with his extensive supply of tools never failed to amaze us. 
The project would have never eventuated without you Trevor ...... thank you from all of us.

VK6RTH orginal 2m antenna

Above is the original 2 metre 6dB co-linear installed on the top of the main tower for VK6RTH 2 metres. I think this is Martin (no callsign) from Scalar who built and donated the antenna. This was the antenna that suffered lightning damage. Note in the picture the batteries and coax (on the large drum) ready for installation.

damaged antenna

The lightning damaged 6dB co-linear which had a lot of water inside.

Much barbed wire was run around the entry pipes to increase security: later we hope to erect a fence.   Lights were fitted inside Ticky, which has been painted with several coats of a white water-proofing solution on the entire inside and roof top; no mean feat when it was pouring down with rain during this process, the solution could only be described as looking like a soggy flour and water dough … it clung to our brushes like glue!

Tic Hill wind generator

Tic Hill Wind Generator....There are few photographs.

Will VK6UU, Ilmar VK6ZIB and Barry VK6KBZ continued working on the site during the RD contest, taking time off to contact the other members participating via the new repeater antennae, wind generator and six only 2v 500 AH batteries … well done boys!   They discovered that power line noise was present.   Suspecting the 22kV 3-phase lines just to the north of the repeater to be the culprit, we set out the following Sunday in a 4-wheel drive equipped with foxhunting beam and snoop loops to track down the offending pole.   Murphy showed his presence as usual; no power line noise could be heard that day, thought four very audibly noisy insulators were located after a spine crunching two hours almost blazing our own trails in the rocky terrain.   The authorities have been notified and are going to replace the insulators.

George, the operator of the Catt D988 loader (called “Betsy”), volunteered his services with permission of the owners to landscape the terrain around our site … we would still be shoveling next Christmas without his generous help.   Fifty tons of gravel, road base and clay, yuk! Not too much clay thank heavens, were carried in the huge bucket and spread around the site, with the members shoveling and raking it flat.   It looks lovely, thank you George, for all your work and especially for our “pet rock”; all 21 tons of it brought from the quarry to the site.   Talking of pet rocks, interesting coloured strata was found whilst jackhammering; chips of these were sold to boost our very depleted funds.   Spring is now upon us, the wild flowers are in bloom around the area, and we hope it will not be long before they return to where we disturbed the land.

The repeater has been installed and we are in readiness for the grand opening in mid-October.   Over 365 day (1 year without holidays) working 10 hours each day would have been needed for one man to complete the project.   There were actually 25 full days (8,760 hours) worked by the following amateurs, wives, harmonics and friends:- 

VK6EW, VK6FC, VK6HA, VK6HL, VK6KB, VK6KG, VK6KGE, VK6MS, VK6NWB, VK6OO, VK6OW, VK6PO, Robert, VK6PQ, VK6RW, Stan Robinson, VK6UO,  VK6UU, VK6YL, Bob, VK6YS, VK6ZBI, VK6ZCK, VK6ZF, VK6ZGA, VK6ZHV, VK6ZIB, VK6ZJR, VK6ZKV, VK6ZLT, VK6ZMB, VK6ZBG, VK6ZRE, VK6ZRR, Peter, VK6ZSE, VK6ZST, Martin, and friend Mark from Scalar.

Tic Hill workers

Many of the Tic Hill construction team

We would like to thank the following, together with many of our members list above, for their donations:- Pioneer Quarries, especially George and Phil, Cockburn Cement, Swan Portland Cement, Scalar, A and M Wholesalers, Ian and Kay More, VK6ABR, VK6EV, VK6IO, VK6NDJ, VK6TO, VK6UN, VK6YE, VK6ZJS, with apologies to anyone we have missed.   To all those who purchased “Pet Rocks”, to members of the WA Repeater Group and all amateurs and families, we say thank you for your support.

In conclusion, may I say that it has given me great pleasure to be the co-ordinator of this wonderful project … thank you.

This story was published in Amateur Radio Magazine (August and November 1981).

Opening Day 

Bruce VK6OO opening Tic Hill

Bruce VK6OO, then VK6 WIA President, opening Tic Hill, October 1981.

Barry Field DOTC

Barry Field VK6BR DOTC (ACMA)

Trevor VK6MS

Trevor VK6MS President of WARG

WARG President Trevor VK6MS

WARG President Trevor VK6MS talking about the work required for Tic Hill

There were 4 microphones on the dais and at least one of them must have been recording the opening. I wonder if the recording still exists...?

 More about Opening Day

Opening day of the Tic Hill, VK6RTH site, was a big well organised day. It was hot and many people had to be transported to the site for the opening ceremony. The guest list included the CEO of the ACMA Barry Field VK6BR and the WIA VK6 President Bruce VK6OO.

Canvas shade was constructed for the large gathering, along with AC power to run fridges for the cold drinks.

Even though the repeater, VK6RTH 2 metres had been on test from the site for a number of days, it had been shut down from early morning of the official opening and was officially "turned on" by a switch on the dais. As soon as this happened many amateurs checked in to be one of the first to be on the list of working the repeater.

From memory I think the speakers at the opening were broadcast on VK6RTH.