Saturday, 4 May 2013

Saturday 4th May 2013

Today I got up early as I had an EME sked with G8BCG Peter in Cornwall England again. It was a magnificent day without any wind for a change and I could see the moon bright and clear as I set up my antenna and pointed it towards it. I went back inside the shack and when the time was right I set my application in motion and sat back to wait for some good results when to my horror my sequencer went up in smoke. Bloody hell what next. I quickly pulled it apart and discovered the coupling capacitor had been vaporised. Oh shit, where will I find another one from down here?

I quickly looked through all the 1950's junk in the cupboard and found a few small boxes of old capacitors for the old long gone 10kW Collins transmitter days and to my delight found exactly what I was looking for so I quickly soldered it in and ran a few quick tests and found every thing to be working perfectly so I was back in business once again.

I was getting a few signals coming through from Peter but he was receiving nothing from me and I started to think this was due to my very small station and that chances of making a connection might be impossible as the moon was sinking lower and lower. But I persisted and every now and then I went outside to reposition my antenna to follow the moon when suddenly Peter got a signal from me.

We persisted for another hour or so until we both started receiving signals and were able to complete the first ever moon bounce transmission from Mawson station, or from any Australian Antarctic station for that matter and as far as i know this was the third time this has ever been done from Antarctica and was my first time so as you can imagine both Peter and I were very happy indeed.

This contact was a one way round trip of 742,000 kms using a VHF transmission that would go about 20 kms here on Earth. I was running about 500 watts from an amplifier I half built in Perth before I left and completed down here and the antenna is a 5 element yagi. Not bad going for an old bush mechanic and needless to say I was pretty chuffed afterwards.

Afterwards I spent a few hours running more tests and measurements on my equipment then cleaned up and packed up every thing and retired back up to the red shed. I was so exhausted i fell asleep for an hour or so and then got up and had a shower before dinner. Geoff had cooked a lovely roast and Cookie put on some wine and port and we had a great evening.

Keldyn, John and Justin had earlier walked out to Beachervaise Island for the night staying in the huts out there. This is the first of the sea ice trips and hopefully we will all get sea ice training next week and we can all start venturing out onto the sea ice.

After dinner we all headed up to Club Catabatic and had gin and tonics with ten thousand year old glacier ice. The blue ice from the plateau is so compressed when you place it into a drink it crackles like rice bubbles for hours. It's an amazing sound which only old expeditioners can relate to. There would be a huge market if you could bring this ice back home I reckon.

Any way we had a really fun night  finishing up in the cinema watching Red Dwaf. I remember waking up and looking around every one in the cinema was sound asleep with the film still running, so I did the only respectable thing I could do.........I snuck off and went to be leaving them all asleep in there.

To the moon and back

Some screen shots of the conversation taking place

1 comment:

  1. It all sounds very amazing Craig and very interesting. Take better care of yourself you only get one set of ears. l don't want you coming back looking like "Chopper Reid"