The birth of the South East Radio Group can be traced back to the late 1950s and early 1960s when, over a period of time, a small group of enthusiastic short-wave listeners visited the shack of Stuart VK5MS and listened to a number of talks given by Col VK5CJ.

It was, however, the transfer of Al Rechner VK5ZCR, later VK5EK (SK) from Adelaide to Mount Gambier that triggered the callsign explosion in the early 1960s, leading directly to the formation of the South East VHF Radio Group in 1962. With the members all having “Z” calls, there was a common interest in that part of the radio spectrum 50MHz and above; hence the initial VHF bias.

A “Who’s Who” of foundation members include:
John Lehmann VK5ZHL now VK4AZK
Les Janes VK5ZLS now VK5JL
Dale Aslin VK5ZER now VK5DA
Gary Smythe VK5ZGR now VK5JR
Colin Schultz VK5ZEV now VK4
Colin Hutchesson VK5ZKR now VK5DK
Trevor Niven VK5ZTN now VK5NC
Jim Sinclair VK5ZSJ now VK5ZSI
Chris Skeer VK5ZFA now VK5MC
Trevor Hutchesson VK5ZTH now VK5TH

1983 Clubrooms

For the first two years, meetings were held at the homes of members before the group moved to its first clubrooms, a two-roomed building at the rear of a deserted house situated close to the edge of a quarry at Glenburnie, some distance to the east of Mount Gambier. This old but comfortable building was used as the clubrooms for about 10 ten years, but as the quarry expanded the group was forced to move.

The Olympic Park Clubrooms

After several temporary meeting places, the group approached the Corporation of the City of Mount Gambier for assistance in finding a permanent home. The result of this application was a small building in Olympic Park, just off O’Halloran Terrace on the southern side of the city.
In 2000, the Junior Primary Campus of Reidy Park Primary School became available to the community thanks to a kind donation by the State Government and some strenuous lobbying by the City Council and club president at the time, Dr Kevin Johnson VK5KJ. As a result, the SERG moved once more and now has magnificent rooms within 100metres of our Olympic Park rooms. The photos illustrate our good fortune.

The tower and side view of new clubrooms

Back entrance to our present clubrooms

Mount Gambier has a population of about 25,000, and an amateur population of some 50 callsigns. Many amateurs in the area are “Old Timers” and can go back quite a way (some even remember valves). The club has members from throughout the South-East of SA, and from across the border in Western Victoria. The club has had supportive Patrons in Eric Jamieson VK5LP (SK) and now Kevin Johnson, now VK4UH.
The first SERG Convention was held over the June long weekend in 1963 and, since then, has become a very popular event. In 2005, the South East Radio Group held its 41st Convention and the 16th year that the National Fox Hunting Championship has been an integral part of the convention. Over the years the South East Radio Group has attempted to foster an interest in the noble and ancient art of “home brewing” by conducting its very popular home brew competition at the convention. With some positive and most welcome support from a person who wished to remain anonymous, the competition has been enhanced in recent years with the introduction of various categories from the novice to the very experienced. There are categories to suit everyone and they attract great interest from those attending.

(The above information was based on an article by Ivan VK5QV (AR May 1993) but updated to reflect current circumstances.

The club shed on the right stores our emergency trailer.

The club is proud of its emergency trailer

Charles and P.President Kevin add to our certificates of successful competition

Click on thumbnails for larger view

The SERG meeting room
The new storeroom floor
New shack takes shape
Looking south – our tower

” This morse code is rivetting, I’m so alert” (Mystery club member prepares for a code exam).

The thumb nails depict our clubrooms as of 10 October 2003. A new floor covering is in the storeroom – thanks Mathew and Charles.

VK5SR field day site in the 80s

Graham VK5YM at VK5SR portable

Tom VK5EE at VK5SR portable

Wayne VK5ZX at VK5SR portable

Roy Goodwin VK5AXV (dec), John Lewis (VK5XO), Wayne Stackpoole, David Stackpoole (VK5ZOO), Trevor Hutchesson (VK5TH)
in the early 70s

Tom VK5EE operates VK5SR portable in 1982 field day

Caravans lined up for February 1982 Field Day at Barn Ridge