We report VHF radar observations of the southern high‐latitude mesopause region using wind profilers that were installed recently on King George Island, Antarctica, and Ushuaia, Argentina. Briefly, our observations, which were made during January and February 1993, show almost no evidence of so‐called polar mesosphere summer echoes, or PMSE. Since these echoes are a predominant feature of the northern high‐latitude mesosphere in summer, their absence in the southern hemisphere is both surprising and intriguing. In this paper we present evidence demonstrating the virtual absence of the echoes and demonstrate that our systems were capable of detecting them had they been present. We also outline some of the consequences of this intriguing result, which are supported by observed hemispheric differences in polar mesospheric clouds, mesospheric temperatures, upper atmospheric gravity wave activity, and mean circulation patterns.