ALARA members hail from all over Australia, and we also have our sponsored DX members scattered around the world.

Our members vary in age from schoolgirls to retirees; we have varied backgrounds and careers, along with our families and other hobbies and interests.

You can read about some of our members on these pages and learn a little about their background to discuss next time you meet them on air!

Shirley VK5YL

Shirley was born in the North of England - she says it was a long time ago, HiHi - but now resides in Adelaide, South Australia with her OM, who is also a Ham. They have twins, one of each if you're asking, and their daughter was involved in Morse Code in the Navy, achieving high wpm.

What kinds of things do you currently do with ham radio?

alara member I enjoy HF and am involved in quite a few skeds. Our ALARA net happens every Monday evening, then there is a sked with my Canadian counterparts with, at one stage, three of them being 'white cane ladies'. I'm also controller for the ALARA Conference Station on Echolink with regular skeds involving YLs around the world that I try to fit in to my busy life. I especially enjoy the ANZA net - Thursday is 'Ladies Day' - and the camaraderie of the guys who help along the way is wonderful. I sometimes fill in for Lyn VK4SWE who is the regular net controller for 'Ladies Day'. I've recently made my first ever CW contact during our ALARA Contest (August 2020) achieving the aim of my friends VK4LJ Jonathon (SK) and VK4SWE Lyn who started me down this Morse journey. We have regular ALARA lunches in VK5 and I'm also a member of the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Club, the largest in South Australia.

What are your favourite non-radio activities?

Shirley about to go snorkelling Oh, there are many........ astronomy, reading, classical music, walking, swimming and making and teaching bobbin lace, with other craft activities along the way. Our ALARA Meet in Cairns, in 2017, introduced me to the hobby of snorkeling and I had a fantastic time checking out part of the Great Barrier Reef, an opportunity I wouldn't have had if not for amateur radio - cloud 29 stuff for me.

What do you do for work?

bobbin lace Fortunately, with all my hobbies, I'm retired but spent my life as a secretary in various disciplines, mainly in the engineering field. I tend to take on the job of secretary in the various clubs I belong to so keeping my hand in at shorthand, yet another language!

Biggest ham related success?

I guess that has to be making my first contact. Way back as I was listening to my OM speak with a guy on 20 meters, he told him that there was a YL standing by waiting to talk to him. Mind you, I'd only just managed to get my licence the week before. As this person answered my call I realized that he was Chinese.....and I don't speak Chinese but we had a relatively easy first contact as his English was excellent. Sadly I didn't think to record his call sign and knew nothing about QSL cards at the time so have no idea who this wonderful gentleman was, he was so very patient with me. Apart from my CW contact recently I have to say that a QSO with Russia is high on my list of 'notable achievements'.

How have you benefited from being an ALARA member?

Shirley teaching lace making I have enjoyed meeting and receiving encouragement from other female radio amateur operators at the various ALARA functions including at the ALARA Meets.

How do people describe you?

Shirley sitting in a fighter jet Enthusiastic, family oriented, organized and I hope, full of life. I very much enjoy meeting new people and some say I'm very curious about things.....

How do you keep in touch with ALARA members?

qsl card Meeting with various YLs around the world via our wonderful hobby. Getting to know people of various cultures and certainly the different lifestyles. Gained an insight into the beginnings of ALARA at our 40 year anniversary in Melbourne and was able to meet some of the original founding members. Being accepted as an equal in amateur radio which is primarily male dominated. Having lots of fun times on the radio. I was able to achieve a radio licence for Rarotonga when we visited a few years ago. That was fun as I was able to use some very sophisticated equipment of E51AND (Andy) and E51JD (Jim) who welcomed me into their home and gave me free reign of their radio shacks. That was my first experience of a 'pile up'.

What is your role in ALARA?

I'm Vice President, having spent three years as President, so I'm now back up for our current president Linda VK7QP. Publicising amateur radio to anybody who will listen, especially the younger generation. I just wish I had found this hobby in my teenage years (I lived in the UK then) so that I could visit my various sponsors in the northern hemisphere. Don't need to go out in the snow to 'visit friends'.

How did you get involved in ham radio and get your licence ?

My OM left the Australian radio magazine 'AR' open on the kitchen table. When I glanced at it there was an article titled (from memory) "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em". It was a synopsis of a lady who found her husband was having so much fun on the radio that she decided to get her amateur licence. I read it and thought "I can do that" The rest is history - I only wish my partner during classes and exams was still around to share in our hobby - Bryan VK5SV, now a SK.