BARRY Wilson is a man of the modern era: he has a mobile phone, a laptop, and an android tablet he is not entirely sure how to use.
But, at 68, his allegiances rest firmly in the amateur radio camp technology that has well and truly been surpassed by our modern versions.
"As a child I was always interested in the CB (citizens' band) radio, although the crystal set never meant much to me," he notes.
The third bedroom in Barry's Geelong home is the head- quarters of his radio room, or Radio Shack as he calls it, where he uses his call signal (VK3MBW) to make contact with other amateur radio enthusiasts across the world.
"I took the third bedroom so my wife doesn't have all my radio stuff all over the place," says Barry who is also president of the Geelong Radio and Electronic Society. There are a handful of two-way radios in his shack, including a Uniden 20-20, an old Kenwood and a Yaesu FT-901.
"My most recent radio is 2005, but they go back to the late '70s and '80s," he says.
"Generally valve radio is a much higher quality."
From 7am Barry may put a "long path" call southwest to the United States, while between 4 and 5pm is an ideal time for putting out a call southeast to Europe. "You may target a particular country and see what amateur radio enthusiast is also out there," Barry says.
"Sometimes it is a quick conversation where you simply take a note of the strength of the connection, other times it can turn into a long conversation with someone on the other side of the world about the weather, all sorts of things. I have even made contact with Australians in Antarctica, which is pretty rare."
Barry has met many like-minded enthusiasts at the Geelong Radio and Electronic Society, but he reckons they are a dying breed.
The club, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, has long been a haven for enthusiasts to tinker with radios and electronics, but there is a noticeable lack of young people among its 50 or so members.
"The guys I am making contact with across the world are in their 80s and 90s, sometimes they are 100," says Barry.
"Cost may play a role, too. To get a half-decent radio members need to spend about $2000."
(Although, as Barry points out, members can also make use of the club facilities).
While Barry does not shun modern communication, he does find himself wondering where the challenge is in Skyping someone.
"Communications have been around for a long time, and whether it is a smoke signal, CW radio or Skype it's the communication that is most important," Barry says.
"But I do wonder where is the difficulty in Skype? With amateur radio there is always the challenge of whether or not you will be able to make contact with someone you have never met on the other side of the world."
Barry is certain, too, that amateur radio has put a certain spring in his step.
"I have had six bypasses, but it would take a lot to keep me away from amateur radio," he says.