Colin MacKinnon, VK2DYM

Colin MacKinnon, VK2DYM, passed away on 05/10/04, after a battle with brain cancer. He was born on 22nd April,1941.

Colin developed an interest in radio as a youngster living in the country town of Orange, NSW where he continually modified the family console radio, attempting to improve the reception of the kids serials from Sydney stations. He taught himself electronics, courtesy of "Radio and Hobbies" magazine and earned pocket money by repairing neighbours radios.

As a teenager, Colin saved up to buy a BC-348 receiver, put up a long wire antenna and became an avid short wave listener. An SCR-522 VHF transceiver, purchased from Deitch Brothers Surplus in Oxford Street, Sydney, continued his interest in Military surplus equipment and he became an inaugural member of the Orange Amateur Radio Club when it was formed.

However, engineering studies, career, marriage and moving to Sydney meant that radio went on the backburner for a long period. However he spent time flying aircraft, racing cars, sky-diving and hang gliding for a number of years, before rekindling his interest in radio.

He obtained his amateur radio licence, VK2KCM, in the early 1980s and a couple of months later sat the 12words per minute morse exam and upgraded to his full call, VK2DYM.

When Colin and his family moved to Glenhaven (about 10 minutes from Dural), he joined the W.I.A. broadcast team and assisted with the broadcasts for many years, as either announcer or engineer. Because he lived so close to the VK2WI station, Colin was often able to fill in at short notice if a rostered team member was unavailable.

Colin met Ian O'Toole, VK2ZIO, at the initial meeting of the Castle Hill Amateur Radio Club and found that they had a mutual interest in military surplus radio equipment, which led them to many radio scavenging expeditions and two large collections of surplus gear.

Colin was interested in theoretical and practical antenna performance and had a cobweb of yagis and wire antennas around his residence at Glenhaven. His biggest antenna venture was an 80 metre, switchable, 8 element delta loop which achieved 5 by 9+ results into Europe and USA.

In addition, he was intrigued by wireless and amateur radio history, especially in Australia and wrote many technical and historical articles for "Amateur Radio" magazine and other local and overseas journals. He researched WW2 radar history in Australia and assisted in the production of several radar historical publications. Restoration of military surplus sets, followed by descriptive articles on each unit, for technical publications, was another interest.

The family moved to a 7 acre property at Maraylya, NSW, so that Colin could indulge his interest in large antennas and DX but in recent years he was not active on air although he continued his research and writing on radio history and military radio/radar equipment. He was diagnosed with brain cancer in September 2003 and had a large brain tumour removed but unfortunately the cancer was terminal.

Colin is survived by his wife, Chris, his sons Malcolm and Andrew and daughter, Jane Maree, as well as grandchildren Arrabella, Cassandra and Tom Norman and Stephanie MacKinnon.

Vale Colin, VK2DYM