[UPDATED 2016-03-23 @1654 UTC] The VK0EK DXpedition began operation on 40 meters on March 23 and was expected to soon start on 30 meters.
W5KUB’s “Amateur Radio Roundtable” webcast scored a live, audio-only interview on March 22 with the leader of the Heard Island VK0EK DXpedition, Bob Schmieder, KK6EK — marking possibly the first such event in ham radio news media history. The VK0EK DXpedition team is setting up and is expected to be on the air soon. When “Amateur Radio Roundtable” host Tim Medlin, W5KUB, spoke with Schmieder, he and the other 13 DXpedition operators had just arrived on Heard Island on the R/V Braveheart and were preparing to start moving equipment and personnel ashore. Earlier a scouting party determined where the DXpedition would set up its camp, gear, and antennas. The VK0EK team will be housed in inflatable air beam structures. Schmieder talked with Medlin for about 15 minutes over an Iridium phone, explaining that he could not do a video interview this time, because he was still onboard the Braveheart, and the necessary Inmarsat phone must be in a stable situation in order to be pointed at the satellite.
“I think we accomplished what we wanted to do tonight,” Medlin said afterward. “I think this is the first time we’ve brought a DXpedition live onto the show. I think worked out really well for us.”
Schmieder told Medlin that it would probably be a day or two before the VK0EK operators fire up. Co-organizer Rich Holoch, KY6R, who was part of the interview, mentioned some pirate activity. He said DXers will know when the real VK0EK is active when he posts the information on the DXpedition’s website and contacts start showing up in the VK0EK log on the DXA3.org website.
The interview, available on the “Amateur Radio Roundtable” YouTube archive, was also broadcast on international shortwave station WBCQ on 5130 kHz.
Medlin noted that the team already is behind its planned March 20 start date. VK0EK hopes to remain on the air until April 10. Holoch posted updated information to the VK0EK website on March 23, indicating that the DXpedition team had transported its gear to the operating site and set up its tents. Weather on Heard Island, he reported, was “Perfectly clear.”
“Amateur Radio Roundtable” is hoping for a video interview on Tuesday, March 29, with the VK0EK DXpedition. “I want to see a volcano in the background and penguins all around him,” Medlin quipped, looking ahead to the planned video interview.