Special QSL card for VI5MARCONI 20 metres
VI5MARCONI is a special event station established to celebrate the direct radio telegraphy transmission between the United Kingdom and Australia. The actual day of the transmission was the 22nd September 1918. See the QRZ.com page for the special calls and more historical details. One hundred years ago seems like a long time back in the past but really it is not. It depends upon your age, how you regard the past and how remote it seems. If you are in your 20s it would seem along time ago, but as you age and develop a broader perspective over a longer period of time it seems not that long ago. I was a boy in the 1950’s and I knew people who remembered and lived within the reign of Queen Victoria. My maternal Grand-mother was one such person as was my singing teacher and Church Choir-Mistress.
I have always been interested in the history of wireless and was pleased when, last evening, Paul, VK5PAS, contacted me and suggested we activate Scott Creek Conservation Park using the VI5MARCONI special event call-sign. We confirmed our arrangements and met at Gate 8 at about 09:45 local time. The Bureau of Meteorology suggested a cool day, temperature of about 13 degrees Celsius and moderate winds. As it turned out we had long sunny breaks and sitting in the sun we got quite warm.
This photo shows our station. The radio in front of my keying hand is my Ten Tec Model 539. JCD photo.
Knowing that the messages sent in 1918 were achieved using wireless telegraphy it was appropriate to try some CW from the Park. That was my task. I called CQ for quite a few times on 80 metres but did not get an answer. I was more successful on 40 metres. I used Paul’s Yaesu 857D and my Camelback hand key (K4VIZ). The Ten Tec Model 539 was a standby radio set up for CW. See my post of 10th August for more details on my morse keys and photos.
VI5MARCONI at Scott Creek Conservation Park, JCD photo
In 2004, a book review by me, was published in Amateur Radio Magazine, of Weightman’s biography of Marconi (1). Here is a reference to that book review. I thought I would re-read the book as part of the celebration this month of the first wireless telegraphy message from the UK to Australia. A quick skim read did not produce any references to the contacts between the UK and Australia. This is not surprising given Marconi’s efforts were largely centred on the UK and North America.
I have been to Scott Creek Conservation Park many times for both walking and radio. Here is a link to my last post about Scott Creek CP. As well Paul and I have also activated the Park on many occasions. It is a splendid park and will repay many visits.
We made 91 contacts from the Park. I left at about 12:45 local time to go home and have lunch and a rest before band practice later in the afternoon. Thanks to all of those operators who gave us a call.
The following stations were contacted:
Paul has been generous with this activation giving me equal status. He made 63 contacts as against my 28.
Special QSL card for VI5MARCONI 80 Metres
Special QSL card for wireless telegraphy (CW) contact with VI2MARCONI on the 40 metre band. The three QSL cards displayed in this post confirm private (not VI5MARCONI) contacts made be me.
Dawes, John, 2004, Book Review, Weightman, G., 2003, ‘Signor Marconi’s Magic Box: How an amateur inventor defied scientists and began the radio revolution’, Harper Collins, London, (in) Amateur Radio Magazine, 72, 3, March 2004, pp 24 & 41.
Thanks for taking part in using VI5MARCONI. It was a fun day out in the park.
Thanks for the chance to use VI5MARCONI jointly. It was great and I was amazed when I saw the total number of contacts and the DX you had worked.
73 John D
It’s interesting to look back on the history of wireless communication. In 2016 I visited the “Marconi” site at Poldhu in Cornwall, UK and found out for the first time that Marconi himself was at the American end of the circuit, not in the UK at all!
Still, not a bad effort, when the equivalent of an SMS had to be sent by morse using underseas cables, as a telegram. Not quite instant messaging!
Good morning Andrew,
Thanks for the comments. Unfortunately we didn’t have time on our UK visit a few years ago to visit any of the communication sites. I think the RF path was, excuse the pun, a ‘circuit’ breaker’ for Australia. We went from wire to wireless and now back to wire, or at least optical cable. The great step forward more recently has been to increase the message handling capability of the system. Anyway we had a great deal of fun remembering Marconi. He was amazing and a successful commercial being as well.
Great work guys!
We had fun: great to celebrate the anniversary.
Thanks for the comment.