ARRL President Makes Final QSO with Australia’s WIA Centenary Station
The Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) marked the conclusion of their VK100WIA centennial special event operation on October 31 with a QSO between WIA President Michael Owen, VK3KI, and ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN. Logged at 1255 UTC -- five minutes before midnight in Australia -- the QSO between N3KN and VK100WIA, with VK3KI at the microphone, was the last contact recorded in the Australian special event’s log.
The contact was made using EchoLink, with VK100WIA using the VK3ANT node in Melbourne, Victoria. Craigie used the K4IJ 440 MHz repeater in Roanoke, Virginia to access the EchoLink node of the linked North Carolina Hospital Emergency Amateur Radio System repeaters (NCHEARS); the NCHEARS system was also linked to the South Carolina Healthcare Emergency Amateur Radio Team (SCHEART) repeaters. Repeater users across three states were able to hear the historic conversation between two continents.
More than 50 WIA-affiliated clubs have used the VK100WIA call sign for almost six months as part of WIA’s centennial celebration; the WIA is the oldest Amateur Radio national society. For this contact, VK100WIA was operated portable for the Westlakes Amateur Radio Club, the club privileged to be the last club to use the call sign. Since VK100WIA went on the air in May, it logged 24,439 contacts.
Owen told Craigie that the WIA was pleased that the special event station’s final contact could be with her, and thanked the ARRL for its support and for participating in the WIA Centenary Weekend through ARRL International Affairs Vice President Jay Bellows, K0QB. Owen also said that the WIA was “passing the baton on to the ARRL, as the ARRL would be celebrating its centenary in four years.”
Craigie congratulated the WIA on their 100 years of service to Amateur Radio in Australia, wishing them well as they begin their second century. She noted that strong national societies around the world, working together through the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), are essential for the future well-being of Amateur Radio. Owen expressed the WIA’s appreciation for the ARRL’s contribution to Amateur Radio, especially the League’s service as the International Secretariat of the IARU.
“Through their extensive program of centennial observances -- including the VK100WIA operation -- the WIA has set the bar very high for the ARRL’s own 100th anniversary activities in 2014,” Craigie said after the QSO. “I am honored to have been invited to be the last station to work VK100WIA on behalf of the ARRL and our members.”