I had my introduction to ham radio during the later part of the 70’s at the blind school in Burwood, Melbourne. We had a Club station at the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind, the same school I was in. It was a residential school as some of us came from the country. We had great fun making contacts with other ham radio operators on the 80, 40 and 20m bands. For me, the most notable contact was a station in Guam in the North West part of the Pacific Ocean.
In the ’80’s I became a member of the Radio Enthusiast’s Club of the Blind at Kooyong. It later became the Kooyong Radio Club to make it more of a Club that allowed fully sighted people to be members alongside us who have various levels of vision impairments. The Association for the Blind, as it was called in those days, provided facilities for us to have our Club there. I studied for and obtained the Amateur Operator’s Limited Certificate of Proficiency in ’84. I also became a member of the Wireless Institute of Australia in ’85. I then learned the Morse Code and upgraded to the ‘Full Ticket’ – the Amateur Operator’s Certificate of Proficiency. Using my own equipment, my most notable contacts were on 2m and 20m: a dx run into Tasmania and Warburton via the Geelong repeater on 2m and a dx run to Tuscon, Arizona in the USA on 20m. Both of these dx runs were from Gippsland. I then studied and obtained the Marine Radio Operator’s Certificate of Proficiency in 2010. I have used my VHF marine radio handset in an Access sailing dinghy on occasions.
An opportunity came for me to do the ‘Radio: Introduction’ course that was run by the Centre for Adult Education at JOY FM in the City for 15 hours total over a few evenings. Also, opportunities came for me to do 2 courses: ‘A to Z of Podcasting’ (completed 2014) and ‘Multimedia, Radio and Filmmaking’ at Disability Media Australia (previously Grit Media) in the City and Art Access Victoria in South Melbourne (completed 2015). During that time, I also had the opportunity to do a little bit of panel operating at Channel 31 in the City.
I then got my introduction to 3WBC through Vision Australia when I worked there and through Neil, the Support Coordinator at Villa Maria Catholic Homes because he knew Terry Phibbs (presenter of Dusk). I visited 3WBC on a Saturday morning and met Viarnne Mischon. I then watched how the presenters ran their program and later on, I met Terry on a Sunday night and I had the opportunity to introduce myself on air during his program. I also met John Farmer (Station Manager) and David Panther (then-President) and after working things out, I’m now producer and editor of my program Out and About with Robert Toseland which started in May of this year. Please have a listen!
My other interests include computers, sailing, trains (including steam) and square dancing. I hope you enjoyed this article.
Robert presents Out And About With Robert Toseland which airs on the 3rd Saturday of the month at 9am.