Welcome to our bio page
Hi from Steve and Gail,
Thanks for dropping by our site. I’m Steve [G0UIH/VK2IAY/3D2FI] – a licensed ham radio operator who previously ran Vortex Antenna Systems. I’m now semi-retired and now administer q82.uk which is dedicated to the radio enthusiast and avid antenna homebrewers and experimenters. This site contains the many years of dev work in producing antenna systems for both commercial customers and the radio hobbyist.
So, rather than let all the work gather dust, I’ve decided to publish some of designs here on q82.uk. Many have been freely available online, but a lot is my own work and development. Here, I’ll give you as much info and data as possible so you can successfully build your own versions. Hopefully, many of the pitfalls have been removed – so all you need do is source the hardware.
On occasions, I may find time to build a handful of antennas during any ‘Quiet’ period – but as I’m semi-retired, this currently doesn’t seem to happen very often. The object certainly is NOT to build full-time again [even though I get asked this question nearly every week].
Saying that, by all means check back here when you can, as when antennas are for-sale – I’ll include purchase links on the pages so you can buy at that time.
As you can see from the top image, myself and Gail love travel. I’ve been [commuting] between the UK and Australia since the early 1980’s, mostly visiting ‘VK’ on an annual basis. I’m licensed as ‘VK2IAY’ with my ‘base’ originally being in Murwillumbah [NSW]. However, over the years this has only become a licensing address as I seem to spend most of my time in Queensland [QLD] in the Western Brisbane suburbs whilst down under – so look out for VK2IAY/4.
When not in the UK or Australia, you’ll probably find us in the Canary Islands as we’re not big fans of the UK winter temperatures and weather. I’ll sometimes take a radio [when the XYL allows!] – so look out for me on the air operating ‘holiday-style’ with the 706MK2G.
As an avid IOTA [Islands on the Air] fan, I’ve been fortunate to activate many Australian [and Pacific] Islands including many VK4 [Barrier Reef] Islands such as Lady Elliot, Fitzroy, Heron and Hook to name just a few. Other operations include Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island and various Fijian and Tongan islands.
The Pacific Islands are a real ‘Jewel in the Crown’ and I hope to activate more in the future whenever time allows.
When you travel up to 50,000 miles a year, aviation can become a bit of a hobby as well. I’m never bored of an airport being like a big-kid with a new toy. I remember my first trip to Australia. A very noisy Boeing 707 at London Heathrow, a stop in Bombay [India] and what seemed an eternity to get there. Throw in the odd Tri-Star and DC10 and it was unique time for long distance air travel. Into the 90’s and the queen of the skies the Boeing 747-400 made trip down under seem almost ‘normal’ and an everyday occurrence. In 1985 I sat in the cockpit of a Qantas 747-400 whilst landing at Singapore in a great evening rainstorm. You’d struggle to get cockpit access these days. I just wish I’d still got my old movie camera! Just recently [Oct 2020] with all the COVID problems, this graceful lady was retired by both BA and Qantas. An end of an era for sure.
I’ve now flown the ‘Kangaroo Route‘ 26 times. So we fast forward and to our visit in 2019. I was ecstatic to find that our Captain on Qantas flight QF2 from London Heathrow to Singapore Changi on Wednesday November 20th 2019 was Captain Richard de Crespigny.
Capt. de Crespigny was instrumental (together modestly as he points out) that he and the crew successfully managed to land a very crippled Qantas Airbus A380. The aircraft VH-OQA (QF32 en-route from London Heathrow to Sydney) developed a fault shortly after departing Singapore Changi.
The resulting incident is well documented when one of the A380’s Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines basically disintegrated about 5 minutes after take-off. Tony J Hughes’s interview gets in-depth about the event and ‘What Aircrash Investigation didn’t tell you about QF32’ makes a great read.
The National Geographical ‘Air Crash Investigation’ episode [46 minutes in length] ‘QF32 – Titanic in the Sky‘ is available below and gives an in-site into how the worlds worst air-disaster was averted.
Our own flight was Qantas QF2 and Richard was in the left-hand seat from London Heathrow to Singapore. The hardware for the flight was VH-OQF A380-842 (Charles Kingsford Smith) pictured below (but not the repaired VH-OQA ‘Nancy-Bird Walton’ from the ill-fated QF32 flight – that would have been interesting!) and fingers crossed we’d have an uneventful flight.
On boarding I mentioned to Gail that we had some of the best brains in the business at the helm and during the flight Capt. de Crespigny came through the cabin freely chatting with passengers which was a really nice touch.
He came past us and noticed me reading my recent RSGB ‘Radcom’ magazine. He stopped for a chat and he asked what it was all about saying it looked quite technical. The conversation expanded rapidly when he learnt of my interest in amateur radio and antenna design. We chatted for about 5 mins about radio in general and he gave me a good run down on the Airbus A380’s capabilities. Of course, “It’s all Sat comms now“ he said, so I mentioned how an old school 100w car radio sized transceiver (like my Icom IC706MKIIG) would have been extremely useful on that eventful time in Singapore. He agreed 100% and said that an item such as that would have been indispensable and sometimes a back-to-basics approach is the best.
Richard then invited myself and Gail to the Flight deck of QF2 when we landed in Singapore. This was a real excitement. It’s one thing to be asked to the flight deck of an Airbus A380-800 but to be asked by Capt. Richard de Crespigny is another thing.
Capt. de Crespigny said that the display above the pilots literally lit up like a Christmas tree when QF32 hit trouble; something every pilot just doesn’t want to experience. Richard said “You train in the simulator for every possible scenario – but what QF32 experienced was an event far and beyond any training simulator could throw at you – a simulator from hell!.”
I remember his wife Coral saying in an interview that there was no better person on this earth that could have landed this aircraft and anyone else would have not pulled it off. Quoting his wife; Richard said that “Well that’s my wife and she’s slightly biased”. Well all went well and we had a safe and uneventful flight to Singapore.
I’d like to thank Capt. Richard de Crespigny and the crew of flight Qantas QF2 for the excellent flight en-route to Sydney via Singapore. Together with Richard’s warm welcome to us both and the very kind invitation to see the flight deck of the giant Airbus A380-800 first hand – it was a real experience. Thank-you Richard and your team. Order your signed copy of ‘QF-32’ here.
……and finally if your older radio requires some TLC – a mention to our good friend Nick [M0NKL]
Nick has been servicing amateur and CB radios since the mid 80’s. He’s a knowledgably guy and seems to specialise in older radios.
Take a look here https://www.cb-and-amateur-radio-repairs.co.uk/