World-Famous Moonbounce Enthusiast Doug McArthur VK3UM, SK


Renowned Earth-Moon-Earth (EME, moonbounce) enthusiast Doug McArthur, VK3UM, of Glenburn, Victoria, Australia, died on February 21, following a stroke. He was 74. Within the EME community, McArthur — a radio amateur for nearly 60 years — enjoyed a world-wide reputation for his expertise, exploits, and accomplishments. He was well known for his 8.6 meter dish, which he used on 1296 MHz in 2006 to set a moonbounce DX record by working CT3/DL1YMK in Portugal, a distance of 18,342.3 kilometers (11,372.2 miles).

His early interest in Amateur Radio guided his choice of career in radio communication and broadcasting, which led to work overseas as well as a position in Darwin, where he worked for Radio Australia. His moonbounce interest was sparked by hearing his 6 meter signal echo from the moon. VK3UM became a stalwart of the VHF bands, pursuing contacts via various scatter modes, aircraft reflection, and — inevitably — moonbounce on 2 meters and 70 centimeters, for which he constructed an array of sixteen 16 element Yagis (later 24 Yagis).

It was after he retired to rural Glenburn, northeast of Melbourne, that he purchased his 8.6 meter Kennedy dish, although a stroke in late 1999 interrupted work on that project. He eventually commissioned the big dish in 2001, making his first contact with it on 432 MHz EME with SM2CEW. He had secured a high-power permit from the licensing authorities for his EME work on 144 and 432 MHz and was instrumental in working with the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) and regulator ACMA to loosen up power limitations on radio amateurs.

Eventually he rigged the dish with a dual feed, to work on 70 and 23 centimeters. Along the way, he developed some key software applications now used by moonbounce operators around the world, including his EME Calc package, for assessing and simulating every aspect of an EME station’s operation. His EMR Calc software, for assessing any amateur station’s compliance with electromagnetic radiation safety standards, is known and used around the globe.

McArthur was a long-time WIA member and staunch supporter, serving on various WIA committees over many years and providing technical advice. He was a featured speaker at the WIA’s Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting in 2011.

A service is set for March 4. The family has requested no flowers. The Honorable Secretary David Williams, VK3RU, will represent the WIA. — Thanks to the Wireless Institute of Australia