The latest issue of Amateur Radio magazine (Vol 89, No 5 2021) has a theme of Australian amateur radio involvement in Antarctica.
A link appeared on a Facebook group to a QSL card for two contacts made on 50 MHz – SSB and FM – made between Darin VK0IX at Casey Base and Mike VK3BDL on 31 January 1995.
The article by Rex VK7MO in the issue of Amateur Radio plus the Facebook appearance of the 6 m QSL card reminded me of a card in my collection. I think that the caption on the VK0MT QSL card in Rex’s article may be captioned incorrectly: it says that the contact was made via EME, yet Rex’s text refers to a meteor scatter contact as well as an EME contact. I know that Rex made contact with David VK0MT on Macquarie Island on 2 m via meteor scatter, as Rex helped me to arrange a sked for me with David for an attempt at a similar contact.
Back then, I was VK3KAI, a call which I still hold.
Very early on a cool March morning (19 March 2005), I drove to a high spot on the Grand Ridge Road near Blackwarry. A contact from home was unlikely, as I had a range of hills located not far to my south. I set up my portable station for 2 m, using a 10 element Yagi at 6 m above ground. The operating spot was off the side of the road, with the car parked parallel to a fence. The ground to the south dropped away quickly and I had a clear shot at the horizon. I was running 100 W and we were using FSK441a mode.
From memory, the first pings were seen at around 1915 UTC. Things progressed reasonable quickly initially, but it took a long time to complete the contact – with both stations receiving “73” messages, which occurred at 2016 UTC. So the contact took just over an hour to complete. There was no significant meteor shower at the time, so we were relying on random meteors.
Based on the Maidenhead locators for both stations, the distance covered was about 2010 km.
As you can see on the obverse of the QSL card from David, it is believed that this was the first 2 m meteor scatter contact between VK3 and VK0 Macquarie Island.
Thanks to Rex for the liaison for the sked and many thanks to David for the contact and for hand delivering the QSL card at the GippsTech Conference.
The contact was one of the contacts that enable me to apply for and receive the Worked All VK Call Areas VHF Award, an award very rarely issued for the 2 m band – 6 m awards are a little more common. My certificate was #51, but I understand that only four (4) have been issued for contacts made on 2 m (144 MHz).