This week at Macquarie Island: 25 January 2019

What goes on in the Ham Shack

Ham Radio in the Ham Shack

All over the world, amateur radio operators ('hams') enjoy the hobby of radio communications. Many test their skills and equipment to see how many different locations in the world they can contact. The less populated and more remote the regions, the greater the challenge.

Macca Station Communications Tech, Norbert, is a ham radio operator who spends some of his spare time contacting other hams worldwide. His radio callsign, VK0AI, is now well known in the ham radio world, as Macquarie Island does not often have a resident ham radio operator. In fact Macquarie Island is rated in the top 10 of ‘most wanted’ locations in the ham world.

To ensure hams don’t miss an opportunity to make contact with Macquarie Island and other sought after ham locations, the use of twitter and the internet assist in alerting operators to the presence of the rare station. It is usually only a matter of minutes before the word is out that VK0AI is ‘on air’.

No matter what time of day or night, dedicated hams eagerly scan the airwaves for that elusive station and hope their efforts are rewarded with a successful contact with VK0AI. This does not always lead to a harmonious relationship with their partners. Some people are really passionate about their hobby!

Despite difficult weather, antennas breaking, wires snapping, auroral activity and tech work, Norbert has found the time to make over 1500 radio contacts with hams in over 50 countries. With just a few months remaining on the Island before return to Australia in March 2019, the airwaves will be crackling with activity whenever VK0AI appears. 

Norbert - call sign VK0AI - in the Ham Shack on the top of Hut Hill making contact with ham operators around the world.
Norbert - call sign VK0AI - in the Ham Shack on the…
(Photo: Norbert Trupp)
The Ham Shack on top of Hut Hill at Macquarie Island
The Ham Shack on top of Hut Hill
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Squid pole antenna outside the Ham Shack on Hut Hill
Squid pole antenna outside the Ham Shack on Hut Hill
(Photo: Norbert Trupp)