The Lower Murray Amateur Radio Club

(From The Murray Bridge Story by Lloyd Butler VK5BR - "Amateur Radio" July 1988 & compiled from information originally supplied by Colin Schick VK5JP)

The Lower Murray Amateur Radio Club was formed at a public meeting held at the Further Education Centre (FEC) in Murray Bridge on the 20th October 1976. The meeting was well attended by people from all walks of life in Murray Bridge and the neighbouring towns of Mannum, Tailem Bend, Jervois and other locations. Colin Schick was elected president, Dean Jolly was elected vice-president, Richard Thiel was elected secretary and Kym Were was elected assistant secretary/treasurer. Other committee members elected were Barry Warnecke, David McNichol, Bruce Stevens and David Edmunds.

Meetings of the club were held weekly in a classroom at the FEC and tuition was initially provided in radio theory by Richard Thiel, Dean Jolly (VK5AKC) and Colin Schick (VK5JP). Colin also conducted morse code practice. The club affiliated with the WIA and continued with lectures at the FEC for several years. A number of club members gained Novice, Limited and Full Call licences during their first year of membership. Barry Warnecke (from Jervois & now VK5ABW) gained his Novice and Full Call and then conducted classes at Tailem Send to assist persons in that area with study for their licence

Amateur radio displays were set up, in conjunction with other functions, at Mannum, Tailem Bend and Murray Bridge to publicise the hobby of amateur radio.(Refer photograph). The club has regularly provided stations for the Girl Guide and Scouting fraternity to take part in JOTA in the Lower Murray towns. Weekend camping trips at the Coorong and a weekend camp-in a Frahn's farm, at Monarto, have given members the opportunity to experiment with their equipment in more difficult conditions than experienced at their home QTH

The incorporated club now has permanent club rooms in the Murray Bridge Johnstone Park and operates with its club call sign VK5ALM. Station equipment is a TS520S transceiver with digital readout, a 3 element beam and a wire antenna. A club network is operated on Monday nights commencing at 1000 Hrs UTC on a frequency in the vicinity of 3620 Khz. A regular controller of the network is Ray Turner VK5UY) and operatives on the network include club members from the surrounding district, as well as other operators, often from other Australian States. outside SA and as far away as New Zealand.

The club offers the 'Bunyip Award to interested operators and short wave listeners who work or log the club station and members of the club. The Bunyip is a mythical animal which has been materialised in a model of the animal, built as a tourist attraction on the banks of the Murray at Sturt Reserve, Murray Bridge.

The club is now in its eleventh year of operation and approximately 25 amateur radio operators, in the Lower Murray area, have gained their operating licences through tuition from the club. Not all of them have been able to remain with the club but the club's training programme has certainly been a notable achievement.


Over the last decade, a number of amateur operators have held licences in Murray Bridge, some of them eventually moving on to other places of residence. At the time of writing, the resident holders of amateur radio licences in Murray Bridge included Ray Turner (VK5UY), Colin Schick (VK5JP), Kevin May (VK5AXT & previously VK5ZKM), Phil Stretton (VK5YI & previously VK5NSO & VK5AKK), Colin Davidson VK5IM & previously VK5AU), Richard Bowyer (VK5NRB), Neil Peake VK5NTO) and John Andrae (VK5IH). Others, who have recently moved on from the town, include Dean Jolly (VK5AKC), Karl Saville (VK5AHK), Sid Dalton (VK5ASX ex VK5NSX) and Sid's XYL (VK5NUA). Other operators, in the neighbouring towns and district, also have connections with the Bridge through their membership of the Lower Murray Club.

Lower Murray Amateur Radio Club Display in conjunction
with a Trade Fair at Murray Bridge.
Left to Right - Chas Swan (VK5WG), Jeff Nottage (VK5YU)
& Colin Schick (VK5JP)

For the early history of Amateur Radio in Murray Bridge (1924 onwards) Click Here



The above article was published in 1988 and reflects history of the Club up to that date. Early in 1998, the Lower Murray Club combined with the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society (AHARS) and Lower Murray members became members of AHARS. Although now a part of AHARS, the Lower Murray Club members still retain their Club name, local clubrooms, local meetings, station licence and local radio net.


(Reviewed 26-08-2014)