Looking Back - 1939 to 2011 - the Autobiography of Robert V. J. Padula, OAM

1950 - Discovering shortwave radio at Auburn

1941 - Bikes and Cars
1943 - Hiking - Hills and Coasts
1944 - Growing up in the War Years - Part 1
1944 - Growing up in the War Years - Part 2
1944 - Growing up in the War Years - Part 3
1945 - Auburn schooldays - Part One
1945 - Auburn Schooldays - Part Two
1945 - Auburn Schooldays - Part Three
1945 - Upwey and the Puffing Billy
1945 - Gramaphones and Record Players
1946 - Flinders St Station
1946 - Astronomy
1946 - Beach and Swimming Adventures
1946 - Going to the Pictures
1947 - Adventures at the Altona Bungalow
1947 -The Listener-In Magazine
1947 - Balwyn WIldlife Sanctuary
1948 - Fishermen's Bend Aerodrome
1948 - Radio Australia QSL cards
1948 - Excursions
1949 - Australian Rules Football
1949 - Radio Monitoring at Auburn
1950 -Trains and Ships
1950 - Radios for Communications
1950 - Radio Listening Clubs in Australia
1950 - World Radio TV Handbook
1950 - Shortwave Radio Propagation Research
1950 - Medium Wave Radio Propagation Research
1950 - Radio and Hobbies Magazines
1950 - Discovering shortwave radio at Auburn
1951 - Photography
1951 - Competitions on local radio stations
1952 - Camp Buxton - YMCA Shoreham
1952 Tennis and Ten Pin Bowling
1953 - Stamp Collectiong
1953 Camberwell High School
1954 - Royal Visit to Melbourne
1954 - Shortwave Radio reception at Auburn
1956 - Melbourne's Olympic Games
1956 - Trainee Telecommunications' Technician
1957 - Trainee Technician - field work
1957 - National Service Registration
1958 - Laverton Air Show
1958 - MOOMBA Parade
1958 - Trainee Technician - field work
1959 - The move to Mont Albert
1960 - Working at Deepdene Telephone Exchange
1963 - Trade Unions, Staff Associations, Industrial Relations
1964 - Senior Technician work in the Melbourne CBD
1964 - Project support for Radio Australia
1964 - Project support for Radio Australia
1964 - Amateur Radio
1964 - Media Writing
1964 -Travels
1964 - Engineering Support for International Broadcasters
1965 - Professional Employment with PMG/Telstra
1967 - Professional Qualifications - Institution of Engineers Australia
1967 - Australian Radio DX Club Photo Gallery (to 1979)
1972 - Wireless Institute of Australia
1972 - Natural disasters in Melbourne
1980 - Australian Radio DX Club Gallery (to 1995)
1981 - Award of the Medal of the Order of Australia
1995 - Padula Books
SPECIAL CHAPTER - Oldtime Australian Radio Drama from the 1930s
SPECIAL CHAPTER - Radio Monitoring Clubs in Australia - 1920 to 1949
SPECIAL CHAPTER - Melbourne Picture Theatres - History - 1906 to 1970

1947 - schoolmates,my bro, and the author (back at right), Auburn




Between 1947 and 1953 I learned the piano, gaining high scores in the final examinations in 1952 held by the London College of Music.


In 1950, one of my teachers was Miss Hunter, who lived in nearby Auburn Grove.


Next to the piano in the teaching room, t here was a large radiogram with a shortwave band. One day, after a lesson, Miss Hunter switched on this radio and let me hear some shortwave signals, which included the Armed Forces Radio Service!



In 1950, I had bought several of the radio design booklets published by the Babani Books Company (UK). These had circuits for simple receivers and  I built several crystal sets, using Babani designs – the company started in 1942 in the UK and is still operating today!


From Auburn reception was limited to the Melbourne stations, and I was unsuccessful in building a set to give greater range.


I then dispensed with using cats’ whiskers and galena crystals and built some sets using semiconductor diodes.


I tried building shortwave crystal sets, but that was a dismal failure!


Then, one day, my parents gave me a present of a two valve battery operated regenerative receiver, built by a family friend. This used the recently introduced miniaturised valves, in the series 1T4, 1R5, 3S4 etc.


This was a source of wonderment, as I was then able to receive MW stations in other Australian states!

At the end of our small backyard at Auburn, Pop had built a little raised wooden woodshed. He added a second level with roof and a power connection. This had a bench in it and served as my electronics workshop. It was in this shed that I experimented with radios and electronic devices. I had trays with electrical components – resistors, capacitors, coils, valves, everything!


I continued to use this little shed until we moved to Mont Albert in 1959.


We would eventually move away from Auburn in 1959 to a “real” home, built in 1923, in Mont Albert, 15 km from the city, one of thousands of such homes constructed around Melbourne in the “Californian bungalow” style – front veranda, garage, lawns, large gardens, weatherboard, and terracotta tiled roof.


My father’s paving work may still be seen here in Mont Albert, having stood the test of time for more than half a century.



Our dualwave radio at Auburn (built 1939)

1950 Our shop in Auburn

Later in 1950 I discovered that our very ancient stand-up dual wave radio at Auburn had a shortwave band, and I started to experiment with it. Sensitivity was terrible, with only the stronger signals being audible.


I managed to hear various stations in the mornings, such as Radio Canada, and other American stations on 9 MHz. In the afternoons, there was good reception from the BBC’s Pacific Service on 9 MHz, and also the United Nations Radio broadcasts to Asia in various languages. The UN programs were carried from the VOA's transmitters in California - Delano (KCBR) and Dixon (KRCA). I can recall the opening announcements: “This is the United Nations in New York. The following program is in Tagalog…”


That’s when I learned the basics of language recognition, as the UN services also had programming in Chinese.


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