The Macedon Ranges Amateur Radio Club successfully operated VK100WIA from 0000 UTC Wednesday 18th to 2359 UTC Friday 20th August 2010. Prior to the event, the club’s committee decided to operate the special event call sign from member’s shacks, for the first two days. The main club focus was to involve as many members as possible on Friday, at the Woodend Scout hall.
When Friday came, so did the bad weather! Members arrived at the hall at 9.30 AM in the midst of rain, wind and sleet! There were even reports of snow on nearby Mt. Macedon! It was very cold!
The local air temperature was about 2.5 degrees but the wind made it feel much lower! Water-logged grounds did not help as six members erected a ZS6BKW multi-band aerial supported by near-by gum trees. Meanwhile, the hall’s wood fire was stoked up and together with a newly installed gas heater, slowly started to take the chill off the air inside the hall.
By about 1pm, the hall had warmed up and so had the operators! For the next 12 hours they were busy on 80M, 40M, and 20M using SSB and CW. 2M FM repeaters and a specially installed IRLP node courtesy of Graeme VK3NE and John VK3IC.
A great time was had by all especially Joe VK3GFA, who managed to “snag” a number of “I” stations on 20m by calling them in Italian – it took a few minutes for Joe to explain the significance of the VK100WIA call sign and that it was entirely legitimate! Reports were then gladly exchanged by all on the frequency!
On Friday night, the scout hall filled with about 100 scouts, leaders and parents. Meanwhile operation of VK100WIA continued in a back room with Luke VK3HJ and Peter VK3TQ as operators. Later, Peter VK3TQ (also a scout leader) explained the operation of the amateur station to some of the people at the meeting.
Operators during the three day slot included: Peter VK3TQ, Graeme VK3NE, Ron VK3ZJ, Joe VK3GFA, Luke VK3HJ – a key operator (in more ways than one), Bob VK3SX, Ray VK3YAR, Jenny VK5ANW/3, Colin VK3YWY, Richard VK3JFK, Gary VK3GSG and Peter VK3RV.
A week before the big event, the Macedon Ranges Leader newspaper interviewed Secretary, Graeme and took a photograph of him and President Peter VK3TQ in Peter’s shack. A week later the paper published a 1/3 page article (with photograph) referring to both the club and 100 years of organised amateur radio in Australia.
At the time of the event, the Macedon Ranges Amateur Radio Club was the youngest club in Victoria and members were proud of the resultant log for the three days. A total of 609 stations were worked. (On-line, official WIA log).
Story & Photos by Peter, VK3RV