The Rex Black Memorial Trophy

This trophy is actually a capacitor, made by a company called Jennings. Hence the name on the label!

An award instigated by one of our former Presidents, Phil Derbyshire VK2FIL, in 1998, to honour the memory and the contributions to both members of the Blue Mountains Amateur Radio Club and the betterment of youth and the instigation of the ‘Youth Radio Scheme.’

Rex Black, (VK2YA) was a life member of the Club who, in the early 70’s, instigated the Youth Radio Scheme and through dogged persistence was able to convince both Federal Government and the Radio Branch of the PMG’s Department that a ‘Novice’ Amateur Radio Licence would be of great benefit.

Many current club members owe their start in Amateur Radio to Rex Black.

The award is given to a non-committee member of the Blue Mountains Amateur Radio Club Inc each year, based on that member's contribution to the Club over the previous 12 months.

It is a perpetual trophy is which has the recipient's name and callsign engraved upon it. The recipient is also presented with a smaller individual trophy.

Past Recipients of the Rex Black Memorial Trophy.

1998 Kevin Purves VK2MNU (now VK2KEV)

1999 Adrian Clout VK2BFN

2000 Michael Dunn VK2XMD

2001 Peter Illmayer VK2YX

2002 Peter Richie VK2HC

2003 Daniel Clift VK2DC

2004 Not Awarded

2005 Colin Coles VK2XCT

2006 David Catlin VK2JDC

2007 Pascal Nguyen VK2IHL

2008 Ross Masterson VK2VVV

2009 Terry Ryeland VK2UX

2010 Rhoderick Rowe VK2TTL

2011 Steve Heimann VK2BOS

2012 Bob Hudson VK2AOR

2013 Alan Beard VK2ZIW

2014 Not Awarded

2015 Not Awarded

2016 Not Awarded

2017 Brian Stokes VK2AAF

2018 Ron Beckett VK2OTC

Just to give some insight to the achievements of Rex Black, read on;

Youth Radio Scheme

The early 1970’s saw the beginning of a ‘Youth Radio Scheme’, which was conceived and prominently promoted by Rex Black, VK2YA. (Rex was a life member of the Blue Mountains Amateur Radio Club and, sadly, is a silent key).

The Youth Radio Scheme had a number of objectives amongst which were;

  1. To develop in young people an interest in radio and electronics which can be pursued as a vocation, or as a hobby through life.
  2. To provide secondary school students with a hobby which will reinforce their studies, both in science and mathematics.
  3. To guide into vocations, in radio and electronics, young people who, through participation in youth radio club activities, will enter into employment fields with interests already established.
  4. To increase membership of The Wireless Institute of Australia.

To get the scheme up and running took the constant lobbying of both the W.I.A. and the Federal Government, over many, many years, eventually paying dividends.

This lobbying was to see the introduction of ‘Novice Class’ licence.

The exam format for gaining a Novice Callsign was also changed and saw the introduction of multiple choice exams. Privileges in some portions of the H.F. bands, which were exclusive to the full call operator only, were also gained. This was a godsend to some people who could not grasp Morse Code. Some Novice operators can still be heard on the bands.

Prior to the introduction of the ‘Novice’, class of amateur licence, there were only 2 classes of licence, Limited, or Full. The class of licence referred to as the Amateur Operators Limited Certificate of Proficiency, or ‘AOLCP.’, was introduced in the mid 1950’s. Holders of a Limited Class licence could not operate in Amateur Bands below 50 MHz., and could not use Morse code.

A Full call licencee, (Amateur Operators Certificate of Proficiency - AOCP), could use any Amateur Band,

With the introduction of Limited Class licences, the 1950’s saw a healthy increase in the number of Amateur licences gained.

In the early days, all exams had to be conducted under the banner of the Postmaster General’s Department. Either at the Marconi School of Wireless in Sydney, or if you resided 60 km or more outside Sydney, special arrangements were made to conduct the examination. I was fortunate to be able to sit for all my exams at the Katoomba Post Office, under the watchful eye of the Post Master, simply because I lived outside the 60 km zone from Sydney.

The Blue Mountains was considered a country area.

These exams were very, very strict, and took the form of a 30 minute examination on Regulations, and a theory exam of two and a half hours duration, in which the student had to answer 7 out of the 9 questions asked. Some exams quite often had 1 or 2 compulsory questions. Everything had to be answered from memory!

This was the same exam for either the AOCP or the AOLCP. but the latter examination was without the required 15 words per minute test in Morse code. This was later reduced to 10 words per minute in late 1967. It is no longer required.

The Youth Radio Scheme introduced a lot of people to the wonderful world of Amateur Radio. Although now defunct as such, with the advent of Foundation licencing, the Youth Radio Scheme was a milestone in the advancement of Amateur Radio in Australia.

Methinks Rex would be pleased with the introduction of the ‘Foundation’ class of licence.

This link will give some more information on the Youth Radio Scheme.

Daniel VK2DC


Last Updated 31/10/18