Between Friday the 22nd June 2018 to Tuesday 26th June 2018, I was privileged to use the special call of VI70MI. This was courtesy of Lee VK3GK, who is the custodian of this special call.
VI70MI is issued to commemorate 70 years of ANARE (Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions) for Macquarie Island, which since 1947 have served Australia in the south polar regions.
Where is Macquarie Island? It lies in the southwest Pacific Ocean, about halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica, at 54° 30′ S, 158° 57′ E.
Macquarie Island, affectionately known as ‘Macca’, is regionally part of Oceania and politically a part of Tasmania, Australia, since 1900, it became a Tasmanian State Reserve in 1978 and was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997.
The island is named after the former New South Wales Governor, Lachlan Macquarie. It is believed that Macquarie was first discovered on 11th July 1810, by Captain Frederick Hasselborough of the brig Perseverance who sighted the island during a sealing voyage out of Sydney.
The island has numerous bird species including Royal penguins, Macquarie shags, King penguins, southern rockhopper penguins and gentoo penguins. Macquarie has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area because it supports about 3.5 million breeding seabirds of 13 species.
Mammals found on the island include subantarctic fur seals, Antarctic fur seals, New Zealand fur seals and southern elephant seals, of which over 80,000 individuals of this species can be found on Macquarie.
Australia’s Sir Douglas Mawson, in 1911, established Macquarie Island’s first scientific station. In 1912, Australians established the first radio link between Australia and Antarctica by setting up a radio relay station on Wireless Hill on Macquarie Island, which could communicate with both Mawson’s main expedition group at Commonwealth Bay, and Australia. The first ANARE expedition to Macquarie Island was in March 1948.
Interestingly, there has never been a ham radio DXpedition to Macquarie Island. The only activities on the island are from hams stationed on Macquarie. Currently there is only one active amateur on Macquarie Island, and that is Norbert VK0AI.
I operated from both home and out in the field using the call. On Monday I activated the Scott Conservation Park using the call, and on Tuesday evening I activated the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park.
Unfortunately work got in the way during my first days of operation. I was on Afternoon shift, but gave the call a run in the morning and the early afternoon. But on Monday and Tuesday I had 2 days off and had some fun on 20m and 15m with the DX.
My very first contact using the call was with John VK5BJE on 40m.
I ended up working a total of 535 stations on 2m FM and 10, 15, 20, 40, & 80m SSB. I worked a total of 16 DXCC entities, 23 of the 50 US States, 15 out of 40 of the ITU zones, and 11 IOTA entities.
The bar graph below shows my contacts broken down by DXCC entity.
Most of my contacts, 264 of them, were on 40m SSB, followed by 165 on 20m SSB. Sadly I left my run on 10m a little too late on Sunday. By the time I got there from 20m where I was working into North America, the 10m band had almost completely closed.
The map below shows my contacts around the globe using VI70MI. Unfortunately no contacts into Africa or South America.
The vast majority of my contacts were around Australia. A total of 407 Australian stations were logged. I worked all States/Territories from VK1-VK8.
I had some reasonable openings on 20m short path into North America, with stations worked in the USA, Canada, and Alaska.
On Sunday I had a small, but very enjoyable opening on 15 metres, to Japan. Whilst beaming in that direction I also logged one station from South Korea, and another in Asiatic Russia. I did not hear a single station on 15m before calling CQ, and then all of a sudden, following a few CQ calls, and a spot on the DX Cluster, the band came alive.
Sadly there was very little long path propagation on 20m to Europe. I only logged 9 European stations, from Germany, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland. And due to work and some other committments, I did not stay up late or get up early in the morning to take advantage of the short path to Europe.
Here is a short video of how I sounded to Tony VK5TT.
I had a lot of fun using the call and would like to thank Lee VK3GK, and everyone who called me. VI70MI will be on air until the end of 30th August 2018. So if you missed me, there will be plenty of opportunities of getting this special call in your log.
A special commemorative QSL card will be available after completion of the activation via M0OXO our QSL manager.
OQRS will be available and also LOTW.
Please do not send your QSL cards via the VK buro as they are not required – Please just request your buro cards by OQRS for a fast return!
Australian Government, 2018, <http://www.antarctica.gov.au/about-antarctica/history/stations/macquarie-island>, viewed 28th June 2018
Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macquarie_Island>, viewed 28th June 2018