Javascript Menu by

Contact The WIA

About The WIA


Become A Member Today

WIA 2022 Virtual Conference - Antarctic Gateway

How to Participate

Our 2022 WIA Hybrid AGM & Virtual Conference is being held on May 7th 2022.

The Hybrid AGM and Open Forum is being held in the morning and the Virtual Conference is being held in the afternoon.

Keynote Speaker

Professor Elle Leane's presentation is titled - Mixed Signals: The Impact of Wireless on the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (1911-14)

Just before the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) departed in late 1911, its leader Douglas Mawson boasted to the media that “the great feature of the expedition is our wireless equipment.” For Mawson, establishing wireless communication between the two continents for the first time was important not only for practical and scientific reasons, but also symbolic ones: a continent that was effectively within talking distance of Australia, he argued, had a “special call” upon its people.

While Mawson ultimately achieved his dream of establishing two-way wireless communication from Antarctica, it came at a significant cost. The windy environment meant that almost no contact was made in the AAE’s first year. When the expedition was unexpectedly extended into 1913, the arrival of a new wireless officer, Sidney Jeffryes, turned everything around, and regular conversations were soon held with Australia, relayed via Macquarie Island. But this new-found connection created tensions between the men, putting Jeffryes under considerable stress. Around midwinter, just after a strong gust of wind damaged the main wireless mast, Jeffryes began suffering from a psychotic illness. The wireless became a battle-ground between the paranoid, isolated “wireless man” and his worried, frustrated leader – a situation that only got worse when the expedition returned to Australia.

Drawing on a collaborative research project with polar historian Ben Maddison and psychologist Kimberly Norris, Professor Leane examines the impact of the wireless on the interpersonal dynamics of the expedition, focusing particularly on Jeffryes, as a way of understanding the important but destabilizing role this technology played during Australia’s first Antarctic expedition.


Elizabeth (Elle) Leane is Professor of English in the College of Arts, Law and Education at the University of Tasmania, where she is also Associate Dean (Research). She recently completed a research fellowship split between the School of Humanities and the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at UTAS.

With degrees in physics and literary studies, she is interested in building bridges between disciplines, and particularly in bringing the insights of the humanities to the study of the Antarctic region.

She is the author of three monographs – South Pole: Nature and Culture (Reaktion 2016), Antarctica in Fiction (Cambridge 2012) and Reading Popular Physics (Ashgate 2007) – and the co-editor of Anthropocene Antarctica (Routledge 2019) and two other collections.

Elle is Arts and Literature editor of The Polar Journal and a chief officer of the Standing Committee on Humanities and Social Sciences of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. She recently finished an Australian Research Council funded project looking at ways of reimagining the roles and relations of the Antarctic ‘gateway’ cities, and is about to begin another focused on the way in which cruise-ship operators mediate the Antarctic tourism experience. She is currently working on a book about contemporary Antarctic travel and tourism texts.

Presenter No. 2

Rex Moncur VK7MO was Director Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) between 1988-1999 and his presentation covers.

1. Australia's Antarctic Territory, the Antarctic Treaty and an inspection Rex made of the Russian station at Mirny.
2. Radio communication covering:
a. Walter Hannam, Radio operator for Mawson's expedition and first Secretary of what became the Wireless institute of Australia. The Heritage listed Club Rooms of the Radio and Electronics Association of Southern Tasmania (REAST) which provided the Australian end for communication with Mawson's expedition.
b. Rex's first awareness of the Australian Antarctic Program when as a 7 year old he remembers his father VK3LN being very proud to work the Heard Island expedition on 20 meters in 1949. Rex later visited Heard Island and took a photo of the radio equipment that was exposed to the elements as the building had blown away.
c. The introduction of the ANARESAT satellite system around 1987
d. An EME contact Rex made with Macquarie Island after his retirement.
2. Some of Rex's work at the Antarctic Division sorting out the rebuilding program, funding for shipping, and the contract for Aurora Australis.
3. Bob Hawke's decision not to sign the Mineral's Convention. Rex's role in negotiating the Madrid Protocol on the Protection of the Antarctic Environment and re-focussing of the Antarctic Program on protection of the Antarctic Environment and climate change and the establishment of the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre at the University of Tasmania.
4. Some examples of Murphy's law, which is so familiar to hams, from Rex's time at the Division.

Rex Moncur, VK7MO, was first licensed in 1960 as VK3ZHI, and graduated in Communication Engineering in 1962. He then worked for the Bureau of Meteorology with responsibility for the Engineering aspects of the Australian Radiosonde network including in Antarctica -- this is essentially like playing ham radio and being paid for it. In 1973 he moved to administrative roles in the Head office of the Department of Science in Canberra. Some of these roles also proved useful for ham radio such as being the liaison officer for the Ionosphere Prediction Service and negotiating an agreement with the US for the Learmonth Solar observatory which we now use as a reference for Sun noise on EME. Other roles included Secretary of the Australian Research Grants Committee (now the Australian Research Council) that funds basic research at Australian universities.

In 1985 Rex moved to Hobart as Deputy Director of the Australian Antarctic Division with major tasks being to sort out the Antarctic Rebuilding program, which was subject to major cost overruns, shipping funding and contracts including for Aurora Australis and the ANARESAT satellite communications system. In 1988 Rex was asked by the Secretary of the Department of the Environment to take over as Director and take the Division in a new direction but left it to Rex to decide what this direction should be. At this time Prime Minister Bob Hawke announced that Australia would not sign the Antarctic Minerals Convention that had been carefully negotiated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Antarctic Division over some 10 years and agreed by all Treaty Parties. Australia was on the outer with most of the Treaty Parties but in the end the Minerals Convention did not proceed and the parties agreed to what was called the Madrid Protocol for the Protection of the Antarctic Environment -- Rex negotiated the Annexes to this Protocol which provide for its practical implementation. He then led a program to refocus the Division on protecting the Antarctic environment and climate change. This included establishing the Antarctic Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) at the University of Tasmania and moving the Division's Glaciology section from Melbourne University to the CRC. For his work as the Director of the Australian Antarctic Division Rex was awarded the Public Service Medal and is a Fellow of the University of Tasmania.

Rex retired from the Division in 1998 and returned to his interest in ham radio. He holds World records for 10 GHz Terrestrial and EME and 24 GHz EME. He is a mentor to many in Hobart on microwave Terrestrial and EME operation. He has run workshops on 1296 MHz antenna construction and coordinates the Sunday morning 1296 MHz QSO party which sees typically 15 stations on 1296 (up to 23 on 23 cm) -- this is more microwave activity in Hobart than any city in Australia and probably the World.

Presenter No. 3

Dr Andrew Klekociuk - Atmospheric Studies in the Australian Antarctic Program - Australian Antarctic Division

Australian studies of the Antarctic atmosphere began with Louis Bernacchi’s magnetic and weather observations during Carsten Borchgrevink’s "Southern Cross" 1898-1900 expedition to Cape Adare. With the establishment of the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) in 1947, Australia set about developing a modern and sustained program of atmospheric studies, which was founded on upper atmosphere and cosmic ray physics, and meteorology. Today an emphasis of the Australian Antarctic program is on understanding Antarctica's role as a driver and regulator of the global climate system. In this talk I will outline some of the history and developments in Australian studies of the Antarctic atmosphere and give an overview of current research and future directions.


Andrew Klekociuk grew up in Tasmania, and studied at the University of Tasmania where we gained a PhD in physics in 1991 for a thesis in radioastronomy. In 1987 Andrew joined the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) as the wintering physicist at Macquarie Island for the 41st ANARE. While working for the AAD, Andrew's research interests have evolved from studies of pulsating aurora to investigations of the mesosphere and stratosphere with lidar, and more recently to the role played by clouds in the climate of the Southern Ocean and how the Antarctic ozone hole influences climate. Andrew currently leads the Atmosphere and Ice Sheet section within the AAD's Antarctic Climate Program.

Presenter No. 4

Peter Yates VK7PY and Kim Briggs VK7KB – AAD - Antarctic Communications Challenges and Review

Our last presentation for the Virtual Conference is from Peter Yates VK7YP and Kim Brigg VK7KB from the AAD. This presentation covers a review of communications from the 1960s through to the present day and the challenges of providing communications in Antarctica.

Peter and Kim will be taking the audience through a brief illustrated history of communications in Antarctica. This will include the high frequency high power stations that provided the life line for the Australian stations from the 1940s through to the 1980s when the ANARESAT satellite system was put in place.

This installation changed the the way the bases were managed in a huge way – the 24/7 bandwidth enabled realtime remote management of many aspects of the bases. This has further developed into each base having reasonable bandwidth enabling expeditioners to access the internet and email in almost realtime.

Peter will be showing some of the challenges that present when you are setting up communications systems and we will finish up with a look at communications at Casey Station thanks to the current Communications Technican - Warren VK7WN/VK0WN.

There will be many interesting stories told and challenges overcome in the harsh and relentless environment of Antarctica

Peter joined the AAD in 1982 and wintered at Mawson in 1983 and 1986 as an electronics engineer for the Cosmic Ray program. He then participated in a number of summer visits to Antarctica for the Glaciological and Telecommunications sections. He continued working as a design engineer in the Science electronics lab at Kingston on a number of projects including the Lidar instrument. In 1998 he joined the AAD Engineering section as the Telecommunications Engineer and managed the development of the AAD Antarctic communications systems until retirement at the end of 2014. He continued his interest in Antarctic communications with some consultancy work with the AAD until last year.

Kim trained with the Bureau of Meterology in Melb, transferred to Tas in '76 at Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station as part of the WMO global program. Kim returned to BofM Hobart and was "borrowed" by AAD in late 1987 as a Marine Science Support tech for a Macquarie Island & Antarctica. Kim left the Public Servce in 1991 and was self employed until 2007 when he rejoined the AAD. He has participated in around 8, maybe 10 voyages. More recently Kim started working in the Comms area circa 2016 doing projects such as NBN into MacIs, an Antenna & Mast rehab'n program across the stations, C Band satellite into Wilkins aerodrome & support for the Million Year Ice Core drilling program.

Register Today

Registration for this event has closed.

Files For Download

2022 WIA Virtual Conference Program

Page Last Updated: Sunday, 08 May 2022 at 21:03 hours by Justin Giles-clark


© 2021 Wireless Institute of Australia all rights reserved.
The National Association for Amateur Radio in Australia
A member society of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU)