Antarctica Post Script, 18th November 2021

While I obtained reasonably good marks for science at High School I knew I had a problem which would make succeeding in that area very difficult, if not impossible! I found out very early at school that I was colour blind. Resistor colour codes were a hazard but life became easier with a multimeter and later, a spouse, who could double check if I had doubts!

At University I met Ray Proudlock, then VK3YAP. Ray was a science student and we lived in the same residential college at the University of Melbourne. I lost track of Ray after I completed my studies and began in employment (again). I was a mature age student. I did not know then that he had an interest in Antarctica. Imagine my surprise when on the 12th March 1978 I had two contacts with Ray totalling about an hour and a quarter..

Here is my log entry.

Log entry two contacts with VK0RP at Mawson Base Antarctica

These are my notes in my log book. Ray said he tries to get on the air at 0900Z on Wednesdays and Sundays. He is VK3YAP in the current call-book (1978). He is using Collins KWM gear. Mawson station was described as being on a small peninsular of rock. The time was 5.15pm at Mawson and he will be there until February 1979. Expeditioners stay in individual rooms 6 feet 6 inches by 5 feet 6 inches (similar to the larger rooms we had in Queens College). Ray said he had a high level bunk about five feet off the floor with a desk and clothes space. There is a library with 1500 books, records and cassettes. He is part of the 25th expedition to Mawson; the first was in 1954 (my first year at high school). The temperature was 20 degrees in the recreation room. Movies Sunday and Wednesday evenings. Mawson is constructed of individual buildings. The sun shines 24 hours per day in summer. Dogs used solely on sea ice. Plateau – tractors are used. Power generation 165 KVA diesels – two – one operating at any given time. Diesel (fuel) Antarctic version does not freeze at 5 degrees.

My contacts with Ray are not confirmed by qsl cards but I chose to include them in this post because I knew Ray and I took extensive notes. I don’t know why I entered two contacts but I suspect he asked my to get some information for him or make a telephone call. I wanted to add Ray’s name to the expeditioners.

Amateur Radio, Volume 89, Number 5, 2021, Antarctic Adventures

Amateur Radio Magazine, front cover, Volume 89, Number 5, 2021

Antarctic Adventures was the major theme for the most recent edition of Amateur Radio Magazine. Ten fascinating articles provide very significant Antarctic content and ranged from two very interesting articles by Brian Clarke, VK2GCE and Rex Moncur, VK7MO to individual stories. Brian’s article provides an overview of the continent, which he writes was unknown until the early 17th century (p.12). Abel Tasman in 1642 reached 40 degrees south and James Cook 67 degrees but did not step foot on the continent because of fog and ice.

I was schooled in Tasmania and 1642 is etched in my brain. We learned the sentence, ‘In 1642 Tasman sailed the ocean blue’! (said with a lilt – dah da dah dah da dah da: I think iambic pentameter).

Jules Dumont d’Urville in 1840 claimed some of the continent for the French and that section of Antartica is named after him and is now called Dumont D’urville. In a tourist flight to Antarctica in 1977 out of Melbourne we flew in our Qantas 747 over Dumont D’Urville, circled and saw a very large radio tower and some tiny figures on the ground (Frenchmen). Rex Moncur held high office in the Australian Government as Director of the Australian Antarctic Division for ten years from 1988 – 1998. Rex first learned of Antarctica as a seven year old boy, when his father, VK3LN, made contact with an amateur on Heard Island. Rex indicates that Australia operates three bases on the continent: Casey, Davis and Mawson, as well as a base on Macquarie Island p.14ff).

The remainder of the magazine introduces the reader to the personalities, those men but no women in the AR sample, who served their country with distinction and have made major contributions to our knowledge of our planet, the sun and the climate. It is the contributions of the individuals and the splendid photographs which commanded my attention. Unlike most technical articles which appear in AR where the text is presented to describe a new project or a ‘fix’, the articles do not provide any insight or little insight into the individuals behind the story. The persons remain in the background, or there may be a sentence or two to introduce them, but this AR is different.

I acknowledge Roger Harrison, VK2ZRH and the technical editors and the publications committee for the work of producing this edition. It is a credit to you all and the individual authors.

Over the years I have made quite a few contacts with amateurs working in Antarctica. Some of those contacts have been confirmed by qsl cards and are displayed below.

G3CWI, Richard of Sota Beams fame. My log records that Richard was in Antarctica, but I did not write down the name of the base.

QSL from John Morrissey, VK0JM, 1979

VK0AC, Art Coolidge was stationed at Macquarie Island. I was fortunate to have two qso’s: 80 metres and about a month later on 40 metres. I gained my full call, VK3BJE, in May 1977. I used my Uniden 2020 and a five band trapped vertical antenna (18AVT by HyGain).
VK0GM, 8th March 1978
VK0PD, Paul is now back in Australia!

I was pleased to get Paul in my log with two ssb contacts on the 20 m band. I tried 40m unsuccessfully – just too noisy and not enough signal!