Note: This Chapter is an abridged version
of stories in the author's on-line autobiography "Looking Back - the Autobiography of Robert V. J. Padula, OAM - 1939 to 2011"
The peak activity years of the ARDXC were from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s.
was marked by a massive increase in interest, membership growth, and activity, bolstered by the large number of youngsters,
mainly boys, who had taken up DXing, helped by the ready availability of inexpensive all-band communications receivers, many
produced in Japan and others offered via military disposals stores.
Many of these young people were resident in Melbourne, and gravitated into administrative positions, enjoying the
excitement and vibrancy of involvement in a challenging social activity, and in a Club which had a peak membership of 680
in November 1983.
We introduced the concept of “Cadet Committeeperson”
where younger members would be given the opportunity of serving as “trainees”, to prepare them for entry to the
Committee itself at a later time.
In those years, many National annual Conventions were held,
some attended by over 100 people, in Melbourne,
Canberra, Mt. Gambier,
In Melbourne, monthly meetings were held, at members’ homes, some
attended by upwards of 30 people! These meetings were subsequently held at a leased hall in Brighton.
members arranged a myriad of day trips/barbecues to places of scenic interest, which included the You Yang’s’
Mountains, Eildon Reservoir, Powelltown, Mt Macedon, and the Kinglake National Park.
Weekend and longer monitoring trips, with smaller numbers
of members were made to rural locations, staying in rented houses, holiday cabins, farms, on-site caravans, family holiday
houses, or tents. The locations were selected due to their isolation from sources of heavy power-line interference. Destinations
included Ranceby (Gippsland), Apollo Bay, Yarram (Gippsland), Wallaga Lake (NSW), Tasmania, Lorne, Cowes, Leongatha, Harkaway,
Hamilton, Inverloch, Lakes Entrance, Woods Point, Flinders Island, Flinders Ranges, Wilson’s Promontory, Blairgowrie,
Beaconsfield, the Western District, South Australia, NSW, Queensland, Macrae, and the
Melbourne members also arranged visits to places of technical interest, such as the PMG’s High Park Receiving Station (near
Kilmore) and the Omega submarine very low frequency Navigation Station (near Yarram).
support for the magazine was extremely high in the 1980s, with a remarkable 118 members contributing to the June 1981 issue,
25% of the total membership!
In the 1970s, a plethora of DXing organizations had emerged
across Australia, all claiming to represent
the national interests of monitoring enthusiasts.
Mainly administered from major capitals, the instigators
of these groups had little understanding of the effect on the existing national Club (ARDXC) by setting up these competing
Membership of some of these organizations was by invitation
only, and was usually driven by single individuals.
Sadly, this absurd multitude of Clubs, all striving for supremacy
and desperate for new members from the same geographical regions, generated hostility and discontent across the radio hobby
Unlike the amateur radio community, there was no regulation
of the “DX” Club movement, or of the application of common standards within these new groups.
In the 1970s, the ARDXC situation became ugly on several
occasions, when members of its management team in Melbourne
were being harassed by people subsequently found to be linked to some of these splinter organizations. This was marked by
anonymous abusive and obscene phone calls at all hours of the day and night, and anonymous postal mailed death threats.
In 1986, the ARDXC became an Incorporated Association
(Victoria), and a new Constitution was adopted. Many other Victorian societies, arts groups, book clubs, sporting clubs, and
similar organizations also secured incorporation.
This was the year in which the first of many national Conventions
took place. Held in Melbourne,
it attracted over 100 participants, and included a trip to the High Park Receiving Station, near Kilmore, and a visit to the
Radio Australia and ABC studios.
Many more national Conventions were held in the ensuing years,
including Sydney (1972), Mt-Melbourne (1973 and 1977), Mt Gambier (1979), Hamilton,
(1978). The Canberra
event included a trip to the Space Tracking Station station at Tidbinbilla. Melbourne was the location of the remaining Conventions, in 1980, 1981,
1982, 1983, 1984, and 1985.
The last national Convention was held in Melbourne in 1985, with about 100 people attending. This took place
at the newly opened studios of Radio Australia, in suburban East Burwood.
The Conventions were marked by the presentation of Awards,
for members who had been nominated for their dedication, support, and participation in a range of Club activities, or in the
This was the Sydney Convention at which I was honoured and
surprised to receive the Club’s first Life Membership Award.
year I was part of the initial editorial team of the Australian commercial magazine "Amateur Radio Action", looking after
the first SWL column, which ran until 1995. This provided national publicity to ARDXC free of charge and generated many membership
I produced reviews for ARA of many communications receivers
and general articles about radio communications.
Another magazine of the era with a SW column was CB Action,
which ran from October 1977 until July 1995, and we had free advertising in it.
CBA and ARA combined in August 1995 to form a new magazine
titled Radio and Communications, later being renamed to Radio Magazine, until its ultimate demise around 1999.
These magazines were eventually abandoned due to declining sales,
negligible advertising support, as a consequence of the emergence of the internet, mobile telephone technology and the high
cost of physical production and distribution.
ARDXC had relied a great deal for its marketing presence
on its continued advertising in these magazines, to generate a steady movement of membership enquiries, promotion of the hobby,
and new members – the disappearance of these magazines meant that there was no
longer a national commercial printed publication across Australia, .covering shortwave radio communications.
During that year, a monthly
shortwave column appeared in the Melbourne
“Age” newspaper in its “Radio and TV Guide”. The person authoring the column was a capable writer,
but was not a member of any Club, and relied heavily on information provided by me, on behalf of the ARDXC. This column ran
until around 1981 and was a source of many enquiries and new members.
1960s and 1970s - Overseas Trips
In that era I travelled to many overseas destinations, combining
Radio Club business with recreation!
These excursions included:
1964 New Zealand and Papua New Guinea (two week
cruise and land tour, meeting with radio enthusiasts in Wellington
ten days, with another ARDXC Melbourne member. We took my Eddystone EC10 communications receiver with us, and met up with
one of our Sydney
1970 New Hebrides, ten days, with a mate from Melbourne.
We visited the New Hebrides Broadcasting Service studios for an article. Drove around the main island in a hired Mini Moke!
1975, with fellow
ARDXC Committeeman Robert James (now dec.), to the USA, on a two week trip, where we
met with many people in the radio monitoring community, in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the East Coast.
1982 Europe, four weeks, with an ARDXC member. We attended
meetings of radio enthusiasts in Germany, Denmark,
and Austria. We spent some days with my
relatives in Livorno,
In the late 1980s, I made several interstate trips to our
Branches to meet up with members there. My Committee companion was Mick Ogrizek, who had taken over the role of Editorial
Coordinator. We attended meetings of ARDXC members in Perth,
Sydney, and Brisbane.
In 1987 a handful of radicals in Melbourne decided to create yet another
new Club, using the ARDXC’s name. Rogue elements in that breakaway outfit organized a public meeting in Melbourne, illegally
promoted as an ARDXC General Meeting using a stolen membership list, where they proceeded to elect people to their committee,
and fraudulently represented themselves as the “Committee” to the Club’s bank, Post Office, and financial
institutions, in an attempt to gain control of the Club’s assets, incoming mail and funds.
This irresponsible behaviour resulted in a large number of
members resigning from the ARDXC.
The issues were resolved by the legitimate ARDXC management
committee calling a special General Meeting in Melbourne,
which resolved to expel the ringleaders of the breakaway group, and access to our funds was restored.
In that year we produced a 110 page publication titled “Mediumwave
Guide to Australia and the Pacific.
A Federation of Australian DX Clubs was proposed by the ARDXC
in the late 1980s, which would have linked all of the Clubs under a single banner, and publishing a common newsletter.
This never materialized.
The 1990s Decline
By the early 1990s, age creep had started to increase, and the Club’s mean membership age had risen to over 50, due to the steady loss of
people who had entered it in their teenage years and who had moved on to other interests.
Very few younger people under 30 years of age were joining
It was becoming increasingly clear that the Club could not
survive indefinitely without the infusion of new, younger, smart, active computer-savvy members, from the Melbourne area.
Membership had peaked in November 1983 at 680, but this had
dropped to 199 by February 1993. It continued to fall steadily to 90 by the end of 1995.
In that year, we developed and published a comprehensive
professionally printed “Members’
Handbook” which included a completely revised section titled “Countries List and Station Counting Guidelines”.
It also contained the Club’s Statement of Purpose and Constitution.
The Decline Continues
the Club had become virtually leaderless, with key positions on its Management Committee remaining unfilled, and I had stepped
into the President’s position as an emergency measure.
Some Committee members, including me, had given notice they
would not be standing for a further term at the next Annual General Meeting.
At the AGM held in December 1995, the position of Secretary
did not attract any nominations, and no nominations were received from Melbourne for the positions of President or vice-President. Two individuals
located in Sydney
nominated for the offices of President and vice-President, and assumed those roles by default, even though they were not present
at the AGM.
This meant that the incoming Committee was dispersed across
Victoria and NSW, with key office bearers in two States, thousands of km apart. One was located in a Victorian country town.
The magazine continued to be produced and mailed from Melbourne, but in mid-1996 the Melbourne-based Editorial
Coordinator (Principal Editor) stepped down from his position, and this function was transferred to Sydney.
Along with many other long serving members, I had become
totally disenchanted at the direction in which the Club had taken, where the principles of democratic management, equality,
respect, fairness, consideration of divergent views, and the right to be heard were
no longer on the Club’s management agenda.
Membership had fallen to a very low 90, and many members
had expressed serious concerns at management decisions, which include extraordinary appalling attempts inn 1997 and 2000 to
expel two Life Members, and to annual their Life Membership Honours, each of whom had served the Club faithfully in many positions continuously since its inception.30 years previously.
It is noted that many members contacted the Club about its decision
to dismiss two of the Club’s longest serving Life Members. The Committee had refused to indicate in any way to these
two members (one of which was myself) the reasons for its actions.
In 1996, I believed that there was no future for me in attempting
to serve the Club in any form, and I terminated my commitment as the compiler of the ARDXC’s “Shortwave Station
News” (after 30 years at the helm!), and the “Australian DX Press Newsletter”. I continued to manage these
services as independent publications, produced under the banner of the newly formed on-line Electronic DX Press.
I also switched the weekly DX radio programs over international
broadcasters from the ARDXC, and set these up as independent services, which survive until the present day!
I decided the Club’s activities had become totally
incompatible with mine, and I disassociated myself from the organization in 2000, and my radio-monitoring energies were then
directed into management of the Electronic DX Press Radio Monitoring Association.
Since 2000, I have refused to have any contact with people involved
with the management of the ARDXC.
In my 30 years of continuous stewardship to the ARDXC, from 1965 to 1996, 2780 people
joined the Club. The average length of stay was one year, and by December 1995, membership had dropped to 90. The peak membership was 680 in November 1983.
In January 1996, two of us (Mick Ogrizek and myself) set up the
Electronic DX Press Radio Monitoring
The EDXP was actually the "E-DXP", but soon became known
as “EDXP”. The EDXP was distributed each week, free, via E-mail, using CompuServe, to various Clubs, organisations
and individuals worldwide who were willing and able to participate.
It was a compiled publication (not cut-and-paste), and recipients
were obliged to contribute news and information to remain on the free mailing list. Organisations, including broadcasters,
were required to make available their own publications, either via postal or E-mail, in exchange.
The EDXP was the descendent of the “Australian DX Press”,
a service of the ARDXC from 1986, compiled by me, the first independent compiled E-mailed
HF monitoring newsletter in Australia,
and by 1998, its distribution exceeded 350!
We chose to position EDXP primarily to support shortwave
broadcasting from, and to, the Asia-Pacific region, as we regarded it as absurd to attempt to cover other geographical regions.
However, we included news and information from outside those areas, where appropriate, as well as Australian medium-wave,
consistent with member interest. The title was actually "The Electronic DX Press Australia", but most people referred to it as, simply, "The EDXP"!
In the early days, the EDXP was also made available as a
printed publication, in parallel with the electronic version. Copies of the printed editions are archived for public viewing
in the National Library, Canberra,
EDXP survives to the present time!