John Moyle Memorial Field Day 2016 and Monarto Conservation Park

Yesterday afternoon (Saturday 19th March 2016) my wife Marija and I headed up to the Monarto Conservation Park, for the 2016 John Moyle Memorial Field Day.  I had planned on going to the Coorong National Park, but after feeling a bit ordinary over recent times, I decided to choose a park a little closer to home.  Monarto is a nice little mallee park, and is just 30 km east from home, along the South Eastern Freeway (about 65 km east of Adelaide).

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Monarto Conservation Park, east of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The John Moyle Memorial Field Day (JMMFD) is held annually in memory of the late John Moyle.  The WIA website states:

“The contest is run each year in memory of the late john Moyle who was a long term editor of the Wireless Weekly, (later Radio & Hobbies – later Radio Television & Hobbies) from 1947 until his untimely death in 1960.  He served in the RAAF with distinction and was responsible for a number of innovative solutions to keeping radio and radar equipment working under difficult wartime and working conditions.  The WIA decided that a suitable long term memorial to John Moyle would be a Field Day with a focus on portable or field operation. The contest has been conducted annually ever since”.

In the leadup to the contest I had had heard some amateurs referring on air to: ‘bloody contests’ and ‘what do they get out of it’.  Although I’m not a huge contester, I do compete in a handful of amateur radio contests during the year, and the JMMFD is one of those.  The JMMFD tends to be a lot more laid back than the big international contests, and on a sunny day like yesterday, its a great way to spend an afternoon out in the field.  I’m always concerned about amateurs criticising the interests of other amateurs.  This is an amazing hobby, with so many diverse and interesting aspects, and we, the amateur radio community, should be embracing all of them.  It’s the old saying of what floats one persons boat, doesn’t necesssarily excite another.

And who really is John Moyle?  I had read a little bit about the man on the WIA website, but really didn’t know much about him.  I had even read some Facebook posts from some hams, spelling his name incorrectly.  So I decided to have a look around the internet and see what I could come up with.  I was also provided an article by Peter VK3RV, the WIA Historian.  Thanks Peter.

John Murray Moyle (VK2JU) was born on the 28th February 1908 in Malvern, Victoria.  He was educated at Scotch College in Melbourne where he was the Editor of the school magazine and involved in the debating team.  John’s first role in radio was with radio station 3DB in Melbourne where he assisted well known broadcaster Ren Miller in the commercial advertising department and also wrote short stories and technical articles on radio for the ‘Listener In’ (Melbourne).  In 1932, John joined the staff of ‘Wireless Weekly‘, a Sydney publication, and soon became Assistant Technical Editor, and then Technical Editor.  John was also first licenced in 1932 as a radio amateur.

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Above:- John Murray Moyle.  Image courtesy of Peter VK3RV.

In 1933 John married Alice Marshall Brown (1908 Bloemfontein South Africa -2005).  She was one of the seminal figures in Australian ethnomusicology and founding members of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.


Above:- Alice Marshall Moyle nee Brown.  c/o

John and Alice had two daughters, Josephine and Carolyn.


Above:- The Moyle family, c. 1950’s.  Image courtesy of

In April 1939, ‘Wireless Weekly‘ became a broadcasting programme weekly publication, with its technical activities separated into a monthly magazine entitled ‘Radio and Hobbies‘.  John was the Technical Editor of the new magazine, and some became the Editor.

John served as a Squadron Leader with the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II.  His service number was 263664.  He was in charge of all radar publications at the Melbourne RAAF Headquarters, and was discharged on the 18th January 1946.

John Moyle served for many years as a Federal Councillor with the WIA and President of the NSW Division.  In 1959 he was selected to represent the WIA as an officially accredited member of the Australian delegation to the Administrative Radio Conference of the International Telecommunications Union, held in Geneva Switzerland.  He also made weekly technical broadcasts on radio station 2UE in Sydney.

John Moyle died on the 10th March 1960, aged just 52 years, after a short illness.  His resting place is the Northern Suburbs Memorial Gardens and Crematorium in North Ryde, NSW.

John Moyle VK2JU Obit lr

Upon leaving home it was quite overcast and there appeared to be the possibility of rain in the Adelaide Hills.  We travelled along the South Eastern Freeway and turned off at Monarto and then drove south along the Ferries McDonald Road towards the park.

Monarto Conservation Park consists of typical open mallee and is surrounded by cropping lands.  A large variety of native wildlife call the park home, including Western Grey kangaroos and at least two species of Marsupial Mouse.  More than 80 species of birds have been recorded in the park, including the endangered Malle fowl.

The small ‘town’ of Monarto is located to the north of the park, on the opposite side of the South Eastern Freeway.  This area was once earmarked (in the 1970’s) by the then South Australian Premier Don Dunstan, as a satellite city to Adelaide.  However, due to a variety of reasons this never eventuated.  Today, Monarto is a farming district and is situated adjacent to the main Adelaide-Melbourne rail line.  Monarto is probably best known for the Monarto Zoological Park which is the world’s largest open plains zoo, featuring a variety of animals including cheetah, rhinoceros and giraffe.

Marija and I pulled in to the car parking area in the north eastern corner of the park, off Ferries McDonald Road.  This is where I normally operate from.  There was already a family having a picnic lunch in the carpark, and they watched on with great interest as the squid pole was erected.  I had a short conversation with them, explaining what we were doing and a little bit about amateur radio.


It only took a few minutes to have everything set up.  We were ready to go a little earlier than predicted.  It was around 1.30 p.m. South Australian local time.  This was just my normal little humble portable station consisting of a deck chair, fold up table, the solar panels topping up the 44 amp hour power pack, the Yaesu FT-857d set on 40 watts, and the 20m/40m linked dipole on top of a 7 metre heavy duty squid pole.  I secured the squid pole to one of the permapine fence posts of the carpark boundary.

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Above:- Map showing our operating spot in the park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

It was a very hot day, despite all the cloud cover.  When that sun came out, it certainly had a bite.  So out came the umbrella to shield me from getting sunburnt (which happened anyway).  The 40m band was very busy and it was quite difficult to find a clear frequency but eventually I did.  My first contact was with Roald VK1MTS/p in the ACT, followed by Damien VK5FDEC, and then Dale VK3VZX.  My fourth and fifth contacts were park to park contacts.  They being with Hans VK5YX who was portable in the Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402, and Chris VK3PAT who was portable in the Avon Wilderness Area VKFF-0942.

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I had not long been on air, when from underneath the umbrella, I heard Marija talking to someone.  Between calls, I poked my head out to find that it was Peter VK5PM and his wife, from Nairne.  Peter had phoned me a few weeks earlier and was quite interested in getting involved in portable work.  So when things slowed down a little, out I popped from the umbrella for a chat.


Above:- with Peter VK5PM.

Peter stayed for around an hour and we had a bit of a chat between contacts.  Hopefully I may have encouraged another park activator.  Fortunately the cloud cover started to move in as the afternoon went on, and the very hot sun abated, so I was able to dispense with the umbrella.

There were long periods of calling CQ with no takers which was a little disapointing, with band conditions being quite good, with a number of contacts into Queensland during the middle of the day.

I worked a number of other SOTA & park activators during the day.  They included:

  • Johnno VK3FMPB/p in the Kinglake National Park VKFF-0264
  • Tony VK3VTH/p in Mount Buangor State Park VKFF-0766
  • Peter VK3YE/p in Mornington Peninsula National Park, VKFF-0333
  • Nigel VK5GRC/p in the Sandy Creek Conservation Park
  • Tony VK1VIC/p on SOTA peak VK1/ AC-008
  • Gerard VK2IO/p on SOTA peak VK2/ HU-024 in VKFF-0362
  • Jim VK1AT/p in VKFF-0269

I did try 20m briefly during the activation but only worked four (4) stations there:- VK6BRC, VK6WE/p, VK4QD/p, and VK6NC/p.

I stopped at around 0800 UTC for a quick bite to eat and a stroll around the park, before getting stuck back into working my last couple of hours.

The laptop held out quite well for the 6 hours in the park.  I have an inverter which allows me to charge the laptop via the Toyota Hi Lux battery, but it is extremely noisy, so I had to take some breaks from the radio, as it was totally impossible to operate due to the noise.  This is something I’m going to have to look at.

My last contact was with Adam VK2FABJ near Coffs Harbor.

So after my 6 hours in the park I had a total of 229 contacts in the log.  Down a little from last year’s 238 contacts from the Coorong National Park.  But still, a very enjoyable afternoon out in the park.

Thanks to everyone who called.

Here is a 10 minute video I put together of the activation and some of the contacts…….



Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 2016, <;, viewed 20th March 2016.

Commonwealth of Australia, 2016, <;, viewed 20th March 2016.

Discogs, 2016, <;, viewed 20th March 2016