This week at the station
This week at Macquarie Island: 13 April 2012
Last week we had the most fantastic art exhibition in the history of the Island. The idea evolved late last year, and after New Year Nancye put up flyers around station announcing the exhibition and prizes for the three top pieces of art, as voted on by the station community. Most people kept their projects secret, but there was an incredible amount of work happening in the evenings around station and in various workshops and field huts.
The old Post Office building was transformed into an exhibition space, and everyone turned up in their best 'arty farty' ensembles, with some individuals coming as pieces of art. Champagne was served by Tony, and canapés passed around as people wandered through the exhibition exclaiming at the variety and quality of artistic expression produced by the 38 people on the island. Salamanca Market has nothing on us!
A wonderful candle-lit dinner followed, as our contribution to Earth Hour.
Amateur radio operations on Macquarie Island 2011/2012
Amateur radio (also called ham radio) is the use of designated radio frequency spectrum for purposes of private recreation, non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, and emergency communication. During the 2010-2012 seasons, Macquarie was fortunate enough to have not one, but two amateur radio enthusiasts that 'activated' the remote Island for the rest of the world. Kevin White VK0KEV and Trevor Hopps VK0TH both used amateur radios in their recreational time on Macquarie Island and managed to work in excess of 16,000 contacts over the 2010-2012 seasons. Both call signs were registered with the DXCC desk to allow amateur radio enthusiasts around the world to register their contacts for awards under the DXCC. The 2011/2012 season was particularly lucky celebrating 100 years of wireless on Macquarie and the call sign AX/VK0TH was registered and used for just this purpose.
Amateur radio equipment was housed in the Ham Shack and both Kevin and Trevor worked amateur frequencies in the HF and VHF range. Antennas, by necessity, were restricted to a small vertical antenna and a Bushcom dipole – both provided excellent service and there were no incidents.
QSL cards (acknowledgement of the contact) were handled by Masa (JE1LET) as QSL Manager and many thousands of cards were dispatched to all corners of the globe. In addition to the normal station activities, Trevor packed his equipment into his pack and headed out for a week of recreation on the east coast of Macquarie, operating from Brothers Point, Waterfall Bay and Green Gorge before returning to station.
The amateur radio community were very grateful to the AAD (and the operators) for activating Macquarie Island and allowing fellow enthusiasts to contact a place on earth rarely reached by amateur radio communications, and we would like to encourage the AAD to continue its history of encouraging this particular recreational activity.
Round island boat trip
To circumnavigate the island you require very good conditions, where there is not too much of an ocean swell and for the wind to be less than 25 knots (approx 45km/hr) for the whole day. This is a rare occurrence on Macquarie Island. This summer we have been incredibly lucky to have had good conditions and the crew available to do three circumnavigations. 30 people have experienced the 85km trip around the island, and each trip has been distinctively different.
The first trip had a lot of fog, which added to the mystery of what the west coast looks like from the water. The second trip had better visibility, but choppy travel along the west coast. The final trip had the most superb conditions as we motored down the east coast. This was followed by a roller coaster ride around the swells of Hurd Point then into the total calm of Caroline Cove for a relaxed lunch on the beach. The trip up the west coast was a bit choppy and meant that we stayed off shore and enjoyed the views of the Island. Two Wandering Albatross flew overhead when we were still at the southern end of the island. The rain and mist descended just as we turned the corner at the north end of the island and headed into home after eight hours on the water.