“Amateur Radio Roundtable” finally succeeded in getting a live video interview with VK0EK team leader Bob Schmieder, KK6EK, on March 29 after conducting an audio-only chat on March 22. Although the image during the historic linkup with Heard Island via a satellite telephone connection suffered from high latency and somewhat resembled moon-landing video from the late 1960s, the audio was excellent, and “Amateur Radio Roundtable” host Tom Medlin, W5KUB, and Schmieder discussed some of the non-ham radio aspects of the DXpedition. Schmieder explained that part of the trip involves environmental and climate-change research on the part of two team members, to obtain new information about changes on Heard Island over the last 20 years.
“Our goal here in the science work is to photographically document the retreat of the glaciers,” Schmieder told Medlin. “Where there was ice, there’s now water.”
Schmieder said the team also has been documenting what he called “a fair amount” of debris on the shore, a lot more than when he last visited there in 1997. Schmieder characterized the VK0EK DXpedition as 80 percent ham radio and 20 percent science, as required by their access permit. He said the DXpedition would not have been possible without financial support from the scientific community.
Schmieder also remarked on the cold, windy conditions, as the Southern Hemisphere heads into fall and winter. The March 29 interview has been archived on the “Amateur Radio Roundtable” website. Medlin will attempt a third and final live video shot with the Heard Island DXpedition on April 5, and he’s hoping for better video quality.