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.