Archive - December 2015


K1024 BY5YAA QSL card Front

Anyone requiring a paper qsl card confirmation for AS-138 Pingtan Island, (activated on the 26/27 July 2014 IOTA Contest as BY5YAA) can now do so via M0OXO OQRS or Direct Post Mail.

Full Colour Qsl Cards will be available in the next few weeks.

Please note the specific date of the operation as dates outside the IOTA Contest itself for BY5YAA will NOT be valid for AS-138 and the IOTA Program.

Any questions or log checks please email me here

Pingtan [AKA Haitan] Island (IOTA AS-138) is part of the Fujian Province group of Islands in China.


S79C AF-119 Story


As all DXpeditioners and IOTA activators will confirm, plans are always in the works….there are always plans for a ‘Another One’ and no sooner than one DXpedition is over……talks for the ‘Next One’ are never far away! 14This case was no different and in-between our other planned DXpeditions, we started thinking on where to go next. Different IOTAs were in mind and several applications to relevant authorities were already submitted. You could say we were juggling different possibilities to see which would work out first.

Our initial application to visit Coetivy had been refused and had not been processed through the proper channels. Truthfully, it hadn’t reached the right person. After learning about the IDC and their projects, we decided to revisit this and perhaps try a different approach – it worked! After many nuisance phone calls and dozens of emails, we got introduced to Mr. Savy, the CEO of the IDC. After our initial correspondence, we learned that a permit to visit Coetivy might be possible and although it would be expensive due to the access restrictions, it did seem doable! Next, we needed to educate them a little bit on what exactly Amateur Radio was all about and needed to be 100% certain that all our antenna plans would be allowed so there would be no confusion at a later date. Information was limited and it was difficult to get to speak to the right people. The initial quotes were outrageous and would have killed the project. We persevered and went through a strict budgeting regime and after a lot of negotiations we agreed on a figure. It was vital at this point to clearly establish what was included and what was excluded. There were so many regulations and criteria to meet. If we were going to do this we needed to book everything through the IDC. We needed to charter their approved registered aircraft and fly the last 180 miles to Coetivy – this is the only practical means of getting to the island. Sure if one has the available time they can go by sea but…. they wouldn’t be able to land without a permit issued by -you guessed it – the IDC.

18There is a guesthouse available on the island which is usually kept clean for whenever IDC staff wish to visit. This guesthouse is within the exclusion zone and gets limited interaction with the inmates/prisoners. The cost of this guesthouse is high, and again, can only be booked via the IDC. Due to flight and accommodation restrictions only a six man team would be allowed. We needed to calculate our overall budget and see if this whole project would be financially feasible. Sure, a bigger team would have helped offset our expenses but this just was not possible – six was the maximum.


Armed with permission and an exact budget we needed to find another four operators to join Col MM0NDX and myself, Dave EI9FBB who had been the planning team up until now. Something as rare as this comes only once in a lifetime, and as 1st IOTA activations have recently proved, humongous pile-ups are assured! Six experienced operators were needed; experienced with the hardships of intense operating with little or no sleep. Pile-ups always come first, and one has to sleep around times of poor propagation or if/when bands are closed. This team needed to be fresh and fit, and ready for whatever they may need to face. Based only on past experiences and IOTA success, a list was compiled with 20 of the most recognised names in IOTA DXpeditioning that we thought suitable. Everyone on this list had already proved themselves and therefore were all sent an invitation to come join us in this new adventure. We also had a ‘B’ list but never got to distribute it as the response to the initial invite was so huge. 15

The four available places were filled within a few hours. The team was now complete and so we could introduce the team members to each other. Up to this point, only the planning knew who were on the team! No introductions were needed however, as everyone recognised each other from previous DXpedition successes, and, so right from the start, this team was sure to succeed. I’m sure you’ll recognise some of these callsigns too! EA3NT, EI9FBB, MM0NDX, PA3EWP, SP5APW & VK5CE made up the team. In fact this team had combined experience from over 160 DXpeditions!

So now we had a budget, a complete team and all necessary permissions – but we still needed to decide when and how to announce it. This is always a risky part when planning a DXpedition. If one announces too soon, it opens the door for another team to sneak in beforehand. Announcing too late creates its own problems. Had other groups been working on this project too? Was a DXpedition going to happen before our intended dates? We had chosen the November timeframe for a number of reasons: weather, scheduled annual leave, budgeting – but mainly for best propagation possibilities into all geographical areas of the globe. Now there was a risk that some other group might get there first. The only way we could be 100% certain, was to ask the IDC if any other Amateur Radio group had been in touch re access to Coetivy. They declined to comment. We made an agreement with the IDC that if we made a definite booking and paid a sizeable deposit, we would be given the exclusive rights and that no permit to any other radio group would be issued until after December 2015. Selfish…..perhaps but that’s the way it worked! 12

As each operator now had to pay the full amount immediately we began a large sponsorship appeal. We are most thankful to all the individuals who kindly made donations before our DXpedition. This is the time when donations are really needed as deposits, fares, equipment etc. all need to be paid for up front. To say thanks, we offered a ‘Free QSL’ to those who donated in advance. We felt that if we got as many DX Clubs and Foundations on board too, it would also help secure our position as often these Clubs will not give funding to the same entity twice within the same year. So, once we were 100% sure that everything had been booked and secured, we announced our intentions.

Expressions of interest from the IOTA community were huge; many sent private emails of support. Each operator basically had his own following, having gained respect from their past operations. I think this reassured the IOTA community that this DXpedition was going to happen. Despite several operations from regular S7 earlier on in the year, by a JA group, a Polish group and several individuals, we still knew that this was going to be totally different. A first IOTA activation has by its very nature never been done before and so everyone wants at least one QSO.

Most operations from S7 are only from an apartment or hotel balcony, few ever had a full beachfront at their disposal, not to mention acres of available space. This luxury needed to be exploited so from early on we intended to put a special emphasis on working North America. S7 is #55 most wanted on the West Coast and an incredible #17 on 10m! To work North America we needed to beam right over Europe, as FL to TX is exactly the same beam heading as EA, CT and IT9. This was going to be difficult as this now was not just an IOTA activation – DX hunters would be looking for us too. Propagation prediction charts showed the high bands being our most productive so we decided on a multitude of antennas. Different take off angles were needed from our antennas to maximise our QSO count and we needed the capability of two stations on each band during peak times. Prediction charts showed only one or two bands being open for several hours during daytime hours. All six operators came here to operate and to run pile-ups not to be sleeping during daylight! Using Google maps imagery, we got to understand the local terrain and had an extensive antenna plan. A few years ago, a well-known Scottish duo did a great operation from S7 and fulfilled the demand for many needing S7 on the low bands. Fortunately for us they did not have great propagation on the higher bands so we eliminated all plans of LF activity and just concentrated on 40m through 6m. Using a combination of VDAs right at the water’s edge and SP7IDX Technology Hexbeams, along with verticals for 30m and 40m, we completed our antenna farm. We had 11 antennas in total. By giving maximum separation between antennas and making sure to avoid nasty multiple wavelengths we knew exactly where each antenna was to go. Obviously band pass filters were to be used at each radio.

Our sponsorship campaign continued and many of the larger recognised DX Clubs and Foundations came forward to give us funding. We realised that this is a difficult and busy time for sponsorship requests as many other DXpeditions were already announced to rare DX locations. Despite our efforts to ship extra antennas, equipment etc. for our North American plans, every North American club declined and refused our funding requests. Each additional kilogram of equipment was adding an additional €100 to our budget. Were we just wasting our time? Were we putting additional pressure and unnecessary expense on ourselves? Why don’t the North American clubs help support IOTA? So we decided to go down the S7 route and request funding to activate Seychelles. This is just not rare enough despite being highly wanted on the West Coast. We decided to request funding from the big well known clubs in California and the West Coast. Again, all requests were refused. Why did they not want to help? Did they not have faith in the team, the location, the equipment, propagation predictions, or what? We began to understand why S7 was so rare on the West Coast. A few weeks later we were delighted when the Western Washington DX Club offered a most welcome donation. They were the only North American club to have supported us. What was reassuring though was the amount of individual DXers / IOTA chasers whose interest and words of encouragement and support kept us motivated and focused. At least some had confidence in us! This individual support was huge!

Obtaining a license to operate from The Seychelles is a straightforward enough procedure although it does take quite a long time. We had been told by other groups who had operated from here to allow at least two months for a license to be issued. Early on in our planning stages we submitted our application to the Seychelles Licensing Authority (SLA). Firstly we needed to get authorisation to import and operate our Amateur Radio equipment. This meant we needed makes, models and serial numbers of all equipment that we would bring with us. If anything this helped our planning as we now needed a complete packing list and needed weights to calculate excess baggage charges for the final flight to Coetivy. Different offices deal with the different parts of the license application and this is where the delay most likely occurs. Nevertheless after almost four months and several follow up phone calls we did get a confirmation letter approving all our equipment and also confirming our requested callsign; S79C had been issued. The actual license is only issued for the exact stated dates and only to a specified location. This meant that we could only use S79C whilst on Coetivy Island. Two days before our departure, we finally had the paper license in hand – phew!

11Time goes remarkably fast when planning a DXpedition and soon enough it was time to begin our packing and calculate our excess baggage fees. Packing equipment is becoming quite difficult in recent times. To keep everything safe, secure and damage-free during transit, Pelican cases are ideal. These however are heavy and soon use up ones limited airline baggage allowance and so everything was carefully packed and wrapped in between personal clothing and carried in our suitcases. These days, most airlines charge excess baggage per kilo and each individual piece of baggage is restricted to a maximum of 32 KGs. In total over $3,000 was paid in excess baggage fees.  

Right from the start the IDC made us aware that all our combined weights, both body and baggage must not exceed 925 KGs. This is the maximum. It is a 1 ton aircraft and the other 75kgs was for the pilot. The days before our departure we got notification that this aircraft was not available and that the new replacement aircraft had a capacity of just 800KGs – this was not suitable and would have jeopardised our whole project. All of our antenna planning, baggage etc. was based on the 925KG allowance. There were only two options: (i) find another suitable aircraft and (ii) ask the IDC to put on a second additional flight at their expense. We needed all six persons and equipment to reach Coetivy. Our whole operation hung in the balance of this decision. We were not to find out the outcome until the day of departure.

As all six team members were travelling different routes and via different airports each made their own way to Mahe, Main Island Seychelles. Each of our flights arrived at different times and on different days and now it was time for the first of the team to begin their journey. Four hours before Col’s departure, the horrible ISIS attacks in Paris made the Global news headlines. 130 poor souls lost their lives. All borders were closed. Col was moments before departing for his flight from Edinburgh to Paris. As if this wasn’t bad enough, he received a telephone call in the midst saying that a close family member was been rushed off to hospital by ambulance with a serious condition. We can only but imagine on what was going through his mind at this time. Coetivy was not going to happen for him after all. Charles-de-Gaulle airport remained closed as Col’s departure time passed. He was still at the hospital waiting for news. Some of the team had already arrived in Mahe at this stage and were now waiting for Chris’ arrival. Jacek was the 1st to arrive from Warsaw shortly followed by Craig coming from Brisbane. Everyone else was due to arrive the following day. We had agreed to meet at the pre-booked hotel which was to be our rendezvous.

More bad news was to follow however. Ron, PA3EWP was transiting via Nairobi which is a 3 hour flight from Mahe. Moments after take-off, the landing gear from his aircraft malfunctioned. The flight could not continue. The craft remained airborne, circulating the airport, whilst the emergency vehicles and fire services got into position on the cleared runway, ready for disaster. The aircraft would have to attempt an emergency landing. This must have been a hair-raising experience for all on board, but thankfully, all went well and the aircraft and all passengers landed safely. After disembarking they learned that there was no replacement airplane. Not only that, but there were no other scheduled flights to Mahe on that day. The repairs would have to be done in Nairobi and should be completed in time for the following day’s flight a full 24 hours later. This meant Ron would miss our scheduled departure for Coetivy. We had already been informed that the latest departure time for Coetivy was 16:00 local, as, the small 8 seater caravan aircraft would have to be back in Mahe before sun down. Ron’s new arrival time was for 17:00 the following day, and that was if everything went according to plan. It looked like Ron would not be joining us either unfortunately.

Luckily word came from Col that he would be joining us after all as the patient was now in a stable condition and making good recovery. He had booked an alternative flight via Abu Dhabi and would be arriving the following morning a few hours before our scheduled departure for Coetivy. Just in time! We were still a man down and needed to try to reschedule this final flight no matter what. We weighed up the pros and cons on which option was best: a six man team for five days or a five man team for six days. Each time the six man team came out on top. A decision was made to shorten our DXpedition by one whole day and to go with the original six man team. We needed all six guys to do what we needed to do. This was an easy choice in the end. No one was getting left behind. So, swallowing our pride, we requested that our flight be rescheduled to the following day. Our representative in the IDC thankfully obliged.

19I don’t think any of us slept that night in anticipation that everything would go well. At 05:30 Chris EA3NT drove to the airport in our hire van to collect Col. He had made it. Five of the team were now together. After breakfast, the following hours were spent repacking all luggage and shopping to gather the last few supplies that needed to be sourced locally. After a short tour of Mahe, it was now time to collect Ron from the airport. Finally, all team members were together for the first time. A celebratory drink was called for. It was all coming together at last. We had a nice group ’departure dinner’ that evening which we all enjoyed, all six of us! The stories of woe and wisdom continued into the small hours of the night and at first daylight, after a quick breakfast, we loaded as much of the baggage into the van as possible to make the 1st trip to the IDC hangar. Several trips would be needed; there was that much baggage. Each piece of baggage had to be individually weighed and labelled. Each person had to be weighed also. Remember, we were still restricted in our weights but not quite as much as we thought. By delaying the flight a day, a different aircraft was now available which had a slightly higher capacity. Our combined weights of baggage and persons exceeded the aircraft limit though. It was now time to make rash decisions and leave some baggage/equipment behind. We needed to shave off as many Kgs as possible. What or who would we leave behind? Some of us had doubled up on necessities and therefore one MFJ analyser was enough for example. Our water and drinks were left behind too. In total, 70 Kgs of excess was shaved off in minutes. This was still not enough as the IDC insisted that we were still 80 Kg overweight. There was nothing else that we could leave behind though. Everything that we had now was needed. Suddenly a thought came to mind. This new aircraft was a 10 seater airplane. There were 6 of us. We made them remove the last two rows of seats to comply with the weight restrictions. Remarkably, they obliged! 8

Our midday departure was delayed because of all this but by 12:50 with all baggage loaded we were called for boarding. It feels strange being seated in amongst suitcases and large antenna bags in an aeroplane! This was to be a short flight, taking just one hour flying time. One could feel the excitement when we got the first glimpse of Coetivy. The island seemed much bigger than we expected having an area of 10 square kilometres. Within minutes we touched down on the short airstrip and the adventure began.

We had only spoken to Michael the island manager once, by telephone, during our planning stages. He seemed friendly and most importantly, helpful. He realised that we had paid a lot of money to come here to do our project and he intended to assist us every step of the way! He did need to know though what would be going where – after all he did have 140 inmates to watch out for! He needed to brief us on the security and on our welfare. We were advised to keep within the exclusion zone. Sure, it’s OK to walk around the island but just not during hours of darkness, don’t ask why – you’ll soon find out! During the planning stages we had studied Google maps in detail and our antenna farm had already been agreed.  We still needed to gain access to another building close to the beach to reduce the amount of stations operating from the guesthouse. About 500 – 600 meters away, a suitable building was made available. We set up two shacks: one there and the other back in the Guesthouse. 10Whoever was in the other shack after dark had to stay there until sunrise as anyone caught moving around the island during darkness is likely to be shot! There are three Rangers on the island and they keep the prisoners under control. Any unauthorised landings or movements get to deal with these guys – we would not be introduced to these Rangers, they are independent and seem to have little or no communication with the island manager.

Michael was very obliging. We needed our coax to pass over a frequently used road and were afraid of coax damage with the passing traffic. No problem – 20 minutes and four inmates later the road had been dug and a 4” pipe buried to enable us to pass our coax cables through. Likewise, the second shack needed to run their coax through dense vegetation. Not an issue – two inmates and a machete later, a channel had been cut through this vast undergrowth to run coax lengths directly to the beach.  Everyone worked very well together and erected enough antennas on the first day – enough for all six stations to operate throughout the first night.

It was great arriving to a location and already being familiar with the local terrain. The work we did studying this in detail before our departure had paid off. Different teams were formed, each with their own area of expertise. We needed to complete all the external outdoor work before sundown. All VDAs were placed right at the water’s edge. During high tide, the bases of these fiberpoles would be submerged with salt water. These rocked! Our SP7IDX Hexbeams were placed further inland and as close to the shacks as possible. These were on 10m masts and were our only directional antennas. These worked a treat and were brilliant performers – one hour set up from box to mast. It’s no wonder why these antennas are becoming so popular with DXpeditions. 12

That evening, everyone met for a quick dinner where we discussed our plans. We agreed on what bands/modes would be used. Initial tests showed everything to be set up correctly and we had absolutely no inter-station interference. The rest of the indoor set up was completed, and as arranged, at 22:00 local (18:00 UTC), all six  stations CQed at the same time. S79C hit the DX clusters and skimmers and immediately the pile-ups began. Each of the six operators had this strange, weird look of content on their faces and the bigger their pile-up the weirder they looked! This is when we remember why we do DXpeditions! Clive 3B8CW was the first station into our log on 17m SSB. Propagation was on our side – the bands were alive. Within the first 15 QSOs, six continents were worked. Running six stations at the same time clocks up the QSO count pretty quickly and in little under 2 hours, the required 1,000 QSOs had been worked as had all 7 continents. The pile-ups continued throughout the night and we only slept when our band closed.

Each day would bring something new and after breakfast we always began to improve our stations. Antennas were tweaked, coax runs were shortened, stations were perfected and new plans of strategy were thought out. At this time of day just two stations were QRV as 12m was the only band open. We set up our 6m antenna and got our beacon running. The SLA gave us a special exemption on our license to allow us 6m privileges. According to Clublog, it has been 13 years since the last 6m QSO from S7 took place. We were hopeful and thanks to support from the UKSMG. With 6m one never knows when the band is going to open – that’s why it’s called the magic band! Ultra-low loss coax was brought and even 6m EME was attempted. This is much more difficult these days without an internet connection. We’ve all become so dependent on chatrooms/skeds for this. Despite our efforts, no one heard our CQs off the moon. Chris, EA3NT and Ron PA3EWP were our 2 main 6m enthusiasts.  Many hours were spent CQing during likely times beaming into different directions. They tried for South EU, JA, AS and even for local African stations. The best they managed was to copy a ‘4X’ beacon for a few minutes. No QSOs were made however the beacon remained operational for the entire duration of our stay. It was not for the want of trying that’s for sure – these two gave it their best. 20

Due to the extended distance between our stations, our laptops were not networked. During the daytime lull, logs were collected from each computer and analysed. Using this information, we could see the areas that needed attention for the next 24 hour period. This dictated our operating plan and which operator would do which band/mode. This was looked at daily and really helped to maximise our overall total. All geographical areas got a fair chance to work us and often we would call specifically for each area. All six stations were QRV as much as possible and no band went unattended. It was evident that a number of band-slots chasers are still trying to work each DXpedition on every possible band/mode slot so we deliberately disabled this feature on Clublog as an experiment. This is an area that has got much debate in recent times and I can honestly tell you it made no difference. A few days after our return, we enabled the Leader Board feature to get better statistics and were amazed by the number who had worked us on multiple bands.

We always knew that we would have no internet on the island and from the start it was made clear that our logs would be uploaded after the DXpedition. We knew this would likely lead to more dupes and ‘assurance’ contacts so to maximise the amount of uniques, we kept at least one station QRV 24/7. The only band we worked RTTY was on 15m. We limited our operating to 12 available band/mode slots and scrapped the idea of 40m as this would just open a whole new window and would be unlikely to log anyone new. Each day’s stats would dictate the following days operating plan. 17

Life was comfortable on this island. We had a cook who kept us well-nourished and refreshed and a maid who kept our surroundings clean and tidy. It was the first time that many of the team had operated from an air-conditioned shack! In the humid 35 degree environment a cold shower was most welcome. On the downside, daily electricity outages were common. Thankfully these were not for very long but were still too frequent and always an inconvenience – they usually happened at the worst possible time! We had to go QRT erratically due to interaction with the prisoners and inmates.  We found the inmates to be friendly but complete opportunists! Once they thought that the island manager was not around, they would try to interact with us, looking for things. Michael had a motorbike and got around the island quickly – the inmates often ran and left in mid conversation once they could hear the faint sound of a motorbike engine, terrified of being caught. Many are serving lengthy sentences, up to 16 years in one case. One evening we invited Michael to have dinner with us but this was cut short as some of the inmates had learned how to make alcohol! Alcohol is banned and is strictly controlled. Only IDC staff is allowed it and even then it’s limited to three bottles of beer twice a week. So Michael had to leave and go gather up some drunken prisoners from around the island. For this they would be punished – once found they were put into an open cell without any food, water, insect repellent or air-con. Here they would be kept overnight on a bed of concrete until daylight when they would need to leave for work. Each prisoner/inmate works five hours a day until noon, and all have different jobs/tasks. Some farm the animals while others gather coconuts and grow vegetables. Those who have trades are mechanics, carpenters, fishermen, electricians etc. and maintain the islands infrastructure. It takes 140 men a full 12 months to keep the island clean and functional.

20The pile-ups continued. 30m was kept until the last two days of the DXpedition. In fact 30m propagation was not all that good earlier in the week. All operators noticed excellent pile-up behaviour from all continents. Everyone respected our requests and we noticed no signs of DQRM. We stayed focused, as we had a clear vision on our goals. We were amazed with the amount of South American stations worked and by having a VK operator on the team, seemed to keep Oceania happy too!

All too soon, it was time to begin our departure plan. We aimed to keep as many stations QRV right until the last minute. The final night saw a decline in band conditions – we had timed it just right! We went QRT at 02:19 on 22nd November 2015 on 30m CW with AA4BQ being the last in the log. At first daylight, teams were formed again and began to dismantle the stations. We skipped breakfast that day and within a few hours all equipment had been removed. All that was left were our footprints in the sand! Everything had to be carefully packed away again. The packed bags now needed to be collected and be inspected, weighed and labelled as we would not see these bags again until loaded on the aeroplane. Now that the DXpedition was over any excess or unnecessary equipment could be left behind thus reducing any further baggage weights. After an early lunch, the truck arrived to take us to the airfield to prepare for our departure. Sure, we were feeling lonesome. We were leaving this island that had been our home for the past five nights.

However, we had achieved what we set out to do and that was to activate this New IOTA for the first time. Despite having one day less on the island, we beat our estimated target of 20,000 QSOs and logged almost 22,000 QSOs in 146 DXCCs. From these, there were 9,808 unique callsigns with an amazing 6,606 North Americans netting 32% of all QSOs. West Coast stations were logged from 30m through to 10m where S7 is #17 on the most wanted list. Our antenna plans had paid off and we hope we gave many a new band / mode point in addition to the new IOTA. Signal reports of 5/9 +20dB were not uncommon. After our short one hour return flight to Mahe, we settled into our accommodation for the final night and as we now had internet, we sent our complete log to Charles M0OXO our QSL manager. He uploaded it immediately to Clublog and opened our OQRS pages. The following hours were spent reading emails of support and notes of thanks from the DX / IOTA community.

We would like to thank CDXC, Clipperton DX Club, DX-World, GDXF, GMDX, IREF, IRTS, Mediterraneo DX Club, Nippon, SDXF, UKSMG and WWDXC who supported us and to the many individuals who donated to our cause from early on. Thanks for your confidence – it would not have been possible without you. Your help is what made our success! Also thanks to our corporate sponsors and to those who gave us discounts when purchasing our equipment. Logs have already been uploaded to LoTW and tnx to LZ3HI – Gold Print, for sponsoring our QSL cards.

See for latest news.

All supporting documentation has already been submitted so special thanks to Roger G3KMA and the IOTA committee who have already approved and validated this operation. AF119/p is not provisional anymore!

We hope we did you proud and look forward to seeing you again from yet another ‘New One’.

On behalf of EA3NT, MM0NDX, PA3EWP, SP5APW & VK5CE, vy 73. We could not have asked for a better team!

de EI9FBB (S79C Team Leader).




Choices for Qsling – VA3QV



Thanks to Bob VA3QV for this blog article;

”Well its getting closer to Christmas….  Got your list sent to Santa already???  Figured out what list you are actually on (Naughty or Nice)????

While surfing the www this am I came upon the blog of Charles M0OXO  and found his article on the traditional way of sending QSL cards  really interesting.

As you know I prefer the Electronic methods (Logbook of the World and EQSL ) lotw 2as my favourites for confirming QSOs but the professional way that Charles conducts his services as a QSL manager impresses me greatly.  If there were more like him out there making our QSL experience less painful then perhaps more of us would not be doing things the digital way. 

The link to his actual blog post is here and I would recommend you check it out and then draw your own conclusions…  I enjoyed it and perhaps you will as well…

73 bob”

Check out Bob’s blog at


”How does the Qsl process work?”



Choosing a QSL Card

This is where many amateurs around the world fail. Most exotic DX stations have QSL managers, like myself, that will have special cards printed for them which usually include a photo and information about their location along with the needed information to confirm the contact. You can design your own and have a local printer DV1UDproduce them for you or you can order cards from one of many services you will find advertised in Radcom, On-line services and other Ham Radio magazines.

Check out my supplier of cards; Gennady UX5UO. cheap, easy, good quality and an easy payment option by Paypal, Cheque, Bank transfer etc to a UK representative (No sending money abroad)!

Give some thought to the content of the card and the quantity you will need. Usually larger quantities are much less expensive on a per card basis.

Contents of a QSL Card

There is some information that needs to be on all QSL cards to be valid for the various awards, and also to confirm the contact. This includes both call signs (yours and the station worked), the frequency or band, the mode, date and time, and a signal report. This is highlighted in point 3 below;

1) Callsign; Your Callsign needs to be on both sides of the card. It needs to be big enough to be easily seen by the person who you are sending it to. You may also consider (on the rear), adding several other of your Callsigns in which case you would to have the ‘tick-box’ option on there (see image below).

2) Your name with Postal and Email addresses (if applicable).

3) QSO information area. This should be large enough for you to write all the data needed to confirm the QSO. Date, Time (UTC), Band, Mode, RST etc etc are all required. You also have the option here of making this area dual-purpose. DV1UD obIt can be used for hand writing cards but if the area is made the same size as a label for example, then you will have the option to overlay this area with a QSO Label (see image left).

4) Also, you may also add the details of your CQ and ITU zones, the county you are in, your grid location (primarily if you operate above 50 MHz) but most of these things MUST be added as they may required to enable a station to confirm his details for any applicable Awards he may be chasing such as DXCC. If you are on an Island then please check IOTA rules as they have specific requirments to enable your card to be valid for IOTA claims. For example IOTA group reference and Island name must be on the card to validate for IOTA.

Sending or requesting a QSL Card: 

To send a QSL to an amateur you have contacted (QSO) you usually have several choices.

QSL direct via the Post Office (Post Mail), via your QSL Bureau or by the now popular OQRS (On-line Qsl Request System)*. Using the Bureau is by far the most cost effective route but you might not want to wait several Years for the QSL confirmation so QSL Direct to the station is then the required option.

* OQRS offers you an Online QSL Request Form to request your QSL card. Your QSL cards are automatically opqrsmailed to you or automatically sent through the QSL bureau which cuts down the time for example the Bureau by half. Instead of waiting 2 yrs plus for the card, this service allows you to receive it within Days (Direct) or less than 12 months (Bureau). Have a look here at my OQRS system and you will have a clearer idea of what it entails.

For example, for a minimum payment of 2 Euros I will send your QSL cards directly to you. Why bother with mailing direct? The M0OXO OQRS is easy and reasonable. I have arranged so that you can make your payment to the M0OXO QSL Mailing Service via PayPal or free if using the OQRS Bureau option.

* DIRECT To QSL direct you will fill out your QSL card and mail it the the person you contacted. Say you had a QSO with MØOXO and you would like his QSL card. First you need to find his address. This can be done by searching an online callbook such as Buckmaster or QRZ.COM!.Then, fill out the the card, address it, add a Self-Addressed envelope, put a stamp on and drop it in the Postbox. Usually in a few days to a few weeks you can expect a card in return if within the UK.

IMPORTANT – If you are sending a card to a DX contact it is generally good practice to include a self addressed envelope and return postage. Do not use the postage of your country as it will not be valid for use in the DX country. Instead include either $2 US dollar bills (known by hams as a ‘green stamps’) or an International Reply Coupon (IRC) which you can usually purchase at the post office (Availability of IRC’s is changing, please contact me if you need up to date advice). **(Do not send coins)**


Using a QSL bureau is by far the least expensive way to collect QSL cards. Using a QSL bureau is by far the least expensive way to collect QSL cards. Most countries where amateur radio is permitted are members of the IARU (International Amateur Radio Union) and will have a bureau, where cards are collected from hams within the country and then forwarded in bulk to the destination country. Using bulk mail to send your cards to the bureau and for them to forward the cards to other countries cost much less for postage than mailing individual cards. The RSGB Bureau in the UK (Norcomm) offer the services for both outgoing and incoming QSL cards. Check the RSGB Website for the requirements and eligibility of using their service.

On-Line Qsling (LOTW & EQSL)

More recently the ability to send/receive QSL confirmations has now become available via the Internet. To do this you only need to go to at and register for this free service. lotwUsing your web browser you will be able to design your own QSL card, send cards to contacts you have made and receive cards. The service also provides features for organizing cards received and creating summaries of them. Currently eQSLs are acceptable for CQ Awards.

LOTW (Logbook Of The World) is also very popular. This system IS valid for DXCC & WAS Award claims so it is widely used. It is understood that at sometime in the future IOTA MAY also be available by this system. If you need advice on LOTW then please email me.

QSL Managers
Active DX stations often use a QSL manager especially when mail to the DX country is difficult at best and non-existent at worst. You will be aware of the QSL manager when looking up the address of the DX call on or by lists published in some of the amateur literature. You must know whether the station of who’s QSL card you need uses a manager. it is imperitive that this information is added to your outgoing card.

Check out my QSL Manager page at for an overview or more information on the topic.

I hope this page was of interest to you and maybe it answered at least some of your enquires. If you have any comments both good or bad, please feel free to ask by using the information on this link (contact M0OXO).


Russian World Wide Multi-Mode Contest

K1024 M0OXO

I was pleased to receive this Certificate yesterday.

M0OXO achieved 3rd Place in the World (SOAB) for the Russian World Wide Multi-Mode Contest earlier this Year.


















TX3X – Chesterfield Islands report


TX3X operated from the Anchorage Inlets, the above-water area named Les Trois Ilots du Mouillage (“the three anchorage islands”), which are less than two meters above sea level at high tide. The surface is composed of crushed coral and pumice stone to a depth of over 36 inches (~1 meter) on a coral base. The reef is home to thousands of nesting seabirds with an active population of hermit crabs and sea turtles. Surrounding the island are submerged coral heads which make navigation hazardous. As seen during previous DX-peditions to the Coral Sea, the beauty of the white sand against the blue water and submerged coral is stunning. The sun reflecting off the water and coral produces the most beautiful colors in the spectrum. The submerged coral heads required our boat to anchor about 500 meters offshore. We used a Zodiac to travel to and from the island, carefully navigating around the submerged obstacles.

The idea to activate Chesterfield surfaced after the VK9MT project. Pista HA5AO, Les W2LK, Gene K5GS met at Friedrichshafen (Germany) to discuss several alternatives. At the time Chesterfield was #24 on Clublog but we knew it would move up the list after the Navassa DX-pedition.

We contacted Remi FK8CP and Sam FK8DD and asked for their assistance with landing formalities and radio licensing. We also contacted the ARRL to verify their requirements for landing permits / permission documentation.

Remi FK8CP contacted the radio licensing agency in Noumea and helped with the process to get TX3X. Each operator submitted a copy of their amateur radio license and passport. The TX3X license was valid from 30 Sept to 14 Oct, 2015. We formed the team of: Pista HA5AO, Les W2LK, Gene K5GS, Arnie N6HC, Tom ND2T, Ross K6GFJ, David N6HD, Steve W1SRD, Mike WA6O, Walt N6XG, Kevin K6TD, and Alan AD6E.

Figure 2

Figure 2 L-R Ross K6GFJ, Walt N6XG, David N6HD, Gene K5GS, Les W2LK,Kevin K6TD, Tom ND2T, Steve W1SRD, Pista HA5AO, Arnie N6HC, Alan AD6E, Mike WA6O

Many of the team members knew one another and others met for the first time at the International DX Convention in Visalia, California in April 2015. Over the course of the project team members worked well together and helped one another as needed. Their prior DX-pedition experience and creativity was evident. Since all but one of the team had DX-pedition experience, the decisions came easily.

At their own expense, team members were required to have emergency evacuation and medical insurance. Each member provided his medical history to team doctor Arnie N6HC summarizing any serious medical conditions, medications used, where the medications were kept, and emergency contact names / telephone numbers. Physical limitations could preclude a person from joining the team.  Boarding or leaving the Zodiac, climbing into a bunk or even using the boat’s toilets can be a physically challenging task in rough seas. Each team member had to be self sufficient.

Since all of the team members were in the at-risk cardiac age group, we thought it prudent to purchase a portable Automatic Electronic Defibrillator (AED) to add to the medical supply kit.

Figure 3

The expedition yacht Evohe from Dunedin, New Zealand was previously used for the Campbell Island and Mellish Reef DX-peditions. We contacted owner / skipper Steve Kafka and asked if he would be interested in a new project. Evohe is a six sail sailing ketch with two Ford engines. With a top speed of 10 knots we could reach Chesterfield in 3 days from Noumea, New Caledonia. Evohe is a no frills “working boat” licensed to carry twelve passengers and up to eight crew. A “working boat” means there are few, if any, creature comforts on the boat.      

The skipper had a crew of four New Zealanders: Ray, Allison, Tori (ZL1TOR), and Jake. Two of the four had DX-pedition experience: Tori – Campbell Island and Allison – Mellish Reef.   We selected Noumea, New Caledonia as our departure point to minimize the number of days at sea.

Regularly scheduled Skype and Web-Ex conference calls were conducted to plan every aspect of the project. Budgets were established, responsibilities assigned, fund raising began and soon various documents began to take shape. We contacted equipment manufacturers and dealers for support.

Elecraft supplied 6 complete stations: K3 transceivers, KPA-500 amplifiers and P3 scopes.  DX-Engineering donated thousands of dollars in coax, accessories, masts and power supplies. Expert Linears America, LLC loaned us the new SPE 1.3 kw amp. Tom Schiller N6BTsupplied six vertical antennas while SteppIR and sponsored the beam antennas. Other suppliers of critical equipment included Arlan Communications (Radiosport headsets), MicroHam (interface units), GM0OBX (custom interface cables), Innov Antennas (high power filters), Spiderbeam (accessories), Array Solutions (SAL antenna) and Northern California DX Foundation (low power filters). The USA sourced equipment was consolidated in San Jose, California at the home of Ross K6GFJ.

Supplies and consumables were sourced in New Zealand, where we would consolidate with the US shipment. Heavy items such as tents, generators, the electrical grid, fuel drums and miscellaneous items were purchased in New Zealand and stored at Precision Autowerk, Auckland.

Figure 4

Shopping lists and store names were provided to the advance team comprised of Pista HA5AO, Ross K6GFJ and Gene K5GS, augmented by local volunteers Roly ZL1BQD, wife Gail ZL1FV and Brett Sommerville (not licensed).

We chose Auckland as the consolidation point for several reasons, the most important being economics. We had access to storage facilities, trucks and a loaner car at no cost to the project. Additionally, it was less expensive to ship the equipment to New Zealand. We loaded the boat on the afternoon of 12 Sept and the morning of 13 Sept, 2015.  Everything was trucked to the boat which was a 30 minute drive from the storage site. After our gear was loaded, the skipper took on an initial supply of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and dry stores. By the end of the day 15 Sept they were ready to sail.

On 16 Sept Evohe took on diesel fuel and 1,200 liters of 91 octane petrol for our generators. After clearing Customs and Immigration on Thursday 17 Sept she sailed for Noumea with Pista HA5AO on board for the 7 day journey, arriving on 24 Sept.

The team began arriving at Noumea on 25 Sept. Most flew via Auckland, New Zealand where several of us met at the airport. Others flew via Australia. Having never been to New Caledonia I didn’t know what to expect. The island is mountainous and one of the largest islands in the South Pacific. The airport is a 45 minute drive from the city center. The predominant language is French, yet most everyone we encountered spoke some English. The city is modern, with many shops and a well engineered road infrastructure. We arrived on a holiday weekend and almost all businesses were closed making it easy to navigate the streets that were virtually deserted. There was a restaurant next to the hotel and another restaurant at the marina. We had an ample supply of beer and food from those establishments. There was also a McDonald’s near the marina.

On 28 Sept we set sail for the 3 day passage to Chesterfield Reef. Although the winds were in our favor we used the boat’s engines for the journey. The skipper planned our arrival at Chesterfield for the morning of 1 Oct when the sun would be positioned so he could see and navigate around the submerged coral heads.

The hard work begins: loading the Zodiac, bringing people and equipment ashore and setting up the camps. The wind was strong and presented a real challenge erecting tents and antennas. It was our constant companion, blowing at a steady twenty knots and regularly gusting upwards of 35 – 40 knots rather than the 15-20 knot trade winds we expected.

The wind made riding in the Zodiac “an adventure in itself”. Sea spray showered us as the Zodiac plied the rough sea. The skipper asked us to get under a tarp so we wouldn’t get too drenched.

Figure 5

The landing area was, for the most part, a narrow sandbar with patches of low growth vegetation consisting of grass and shrubs. Our Mellish Reef experience indicated we needed long tent and guying stakes on Chesterfield. To manage cost and minimize weight we used ninety pieces of rebar each three feet long (1 meter), one hundred twenty wooden three foot landscaping stakes and one hundred sandbags each capable of holding fifty pounds (23kg) of sand. Several techniques were used to secure the tents and antennas, including burying a sandbag in a dead man arrangement and/or augmenting the rebar / wood stakes with a sandbag.

We used five heavy duty tents configured as follows: SSB camp, CW camp, data center / break tent and two sleeping tents. In retrospect we needed more sleeping tents since we couldn’t get back to the boat often enough due to the heavy winds and unsafe sea conditions.

The New Zealand sourced tents were made of heavy duty poly canvas with steel frames. The tents took a significant beating from the wind. They kept the rain out and remained standing. Except for not reading the instructions, the biggest tent challenge was the poles that held up the awning continually sank in the loose sand. The boat crew helped stabilized the poles and performed daily maintenance on the guys.

Other than the first night when the wind caused some antenna problems we had no other wind related antenna problems except an inability to erect tall antennas. The area was a narrow sandbar, about thirty feet (ten meters) wide, with the sea on both sides. Salt and sand spray was constant, requiring daily maintenance of the lower antennas. The two element rotatable vertical antennas were installed first, giving us 10 – 40m capability. It was too windy (unsafe) to install the SteppIR beams, the Battle Creek Special or the 80 meter antenna.

Figure 6

As the days progressed the wind never subsided and propagation was getting worse. In spite of the dangerous conditions we did get the SteppIR beams erected. On day 5 the 80 meter antenna was raised. Due to the fierce wind, we couldn’t get the 18M Spiderpole up for the 80M vertical but we jury rigged a 30 foot antenna mast with a top loading wire in an inverted L configuration. We tried installing the Battle Creek Special, but the winds were too strong. Towards the end of the project the 80M antenna was reconfigured with a longer piece of wire as a makeshift 160 antenna which we used on the last night.

After the DX-pedition we saw a comment on the Internet that suggested the antennas may not have been the correct distance from the sea. Maybe the writer knew something we didn’t? Useable space between high tide marks was only about 30 feet (10 meters).

Figure 7

Figure 7 – Note width of the sandbar at low tide

Due to the unsafe conditions the skipper severely limited our ability to shuttle back and forth to the boat during the day, and not all at night. We created a shift schedule that kept one team on the reef 6PM to 6AM.  Sleeping on the island was very difficult because of the wind and tent noise. The revised schedule allowed sleep time on the boat at night for half the team. Propagation was such that we didn’t see a significant negative impact from this new schedule since the bands were mostly closed.

Steve W1SRD made the first contact with AK6ZZ on 1 Oct. Propagation was good with energetic pileups around the globe. We became increasingly concerned when propagation reports predicted strong geomagnetic disturbances. When propagation deteriorated the band openings dwindled. As propagation further diminished, atmospheric noise increased and our rates suffered.  Over the Horizon Radar wiped out signals on 40 SSB one night.

For the entire operation the “K” Index was “4” or higher, with the “A” Index peaking at 77 on 7 Oct. Propagation was erratic and unpredictable. We experienced pinpoint (cluster-like) propagation where we could hear a relatively small geographic area extremely well. Suddenly signals disappeared from that area and another area would be heard for a short while. There was no doubt you were hearing us better than we heard you. We received reports that aurora was causing problems in northwestern EU. It was disappointing that we couldn’t get on 160 until the last night.

The pilots reported your complaints that we worked Asia at the expense of other regions. Unfortunately, we were not hearing the other geographic areas but had almost full time propagation to Asia. We listened often for NA – SA – EU – AF and OC and directed the pile-up when we could hear them.

Being so close to JA and hearing them almost all the time was challenging. We asked JA to standby many times but it wasn’t always effective. We tried several different techniques to reduce the continuous calling – some worked and some didn’t.

Figure 8

We used seven Lenovo laptops configured with N1MM+ in a networked environment. Contrary to the usual Internet rumors, we uploaded the logs on a daily basis except for one day when we were distracted by more pressing needs. No logs or Qs were lost. We uploaded by day not by band as some Internet rumors implied. We had an unexplained logging problem when over 800 QSOs were incorrectly logged as PSK31. The log was corrected from the island.

We had a problem with our website on 6 Oct (GMT date). Our web hosting firm ( suspended our account because we were getting too many hits. Several weeks before the DX-pedition we gave them notice of the expected peaks in usage and offered to pay for additional resources, as required. We called them from the island on the satellite phone. Their system administrator made up a nonsense story about our software being the problem. We then called John Miller K6MM and asked him to intervene with Within an hour the site was back on-line operating normally and meeting the load. There were no software problems.

On the morning of Oct. 12th we went QRT and began the teardown process. Ironically, the wind subsided for a while. We spent about 6 hours in tear down mode staging equipment on the beach and ferrying it back to the boat.

The journey back to Noumea was into the wind and very rough. The skipper described the seas as “confused”. While the swells were only about 3 – 5 meters the skipper said the seas were coming at us from different directions. The ride was so rough that team medic Arnie N6HC became concerned that several team members were unable to keep down fluids and food. After three days at sea on the evening of 14 Oct. the skipper dropped anchor at Koumac on the far northern tip of New Caledonia.

The weather forecast indicated continued strong winds and unsettled seas. The skipper gave us the option of riding the boat back to Noumea or taking a 5 hour bus ride. Arrangements were made by the harbor master to transport the team to a local bus stop a few kilometers away. Arnie N6HC rode the boat while the rest of us took the bus to Noumea. Evohe arrived the next day and Arnie survived the journey.

The Evohe departed Noumea on 19 October and arrived back in Auckland on 27 Oct where the Advance Team of Ross K6GFJ, Gene K5GS and volunteer Brett Sommerville, along with the crew, unloaded the boat and trucked the equipment to Precision Autowerk.

The weather and propagation presented the greatest challenges causing operating plans to be changed. We had difficulty sleeping on the island due to the sound of the wind blowing across and through the tents. The RadioSport headphones did a good job of minimizing the external noise, but nothing could be done to stop all the tents and operating desks from shaking constantly.

Antenna and tent guys required constant attention, primarily due to the sand base and lack of a solid footing. We had salt contamination issues with the lower antennas; the elevated SteppIRs had no problem.

On cays like Chesterfield, heat and humidity are important considerations. We brought ashore over four hundred liters of drinking water and twenty pounds (9 kg) of powdered Gatorade to restore electrolytes lost through perspiration. Everyone carried a personal water container. We had a supply of sunscreen and encouraged everyone to protect themselves from the sun with hats, long sleeve shirts and application of sunscreen on exposed areas. The Northern California DX Foundation supplied tropical shirts that were perfect for this protection.

We were careful not to disturb ground nesting birds. Many had eggs on the ground and would become agitated if we got too close. Nightly visits by the hermit crabs were always interesting. Other than a few cut fingers, we had no injuries or accidents on the reef. Neither turtles, birds nor eggs were injured although the birds were just as interested in watching us as we were in their well being. The birds were always hovering close to our heads and watched everything we did.

Our goal was to work 80,000 QSOs and concentrate on RTTY. Unfortunately, the weather and propagation have a nasty habit of changing the plans. After 10 full operating days, we closed the log with 50,104 QSOs which now shows 50,123 with SWL requests.

In general, the DX community cooperated nicely during the pile-ups.  However, being so close to JA at times it was a real challenge to get JA to QRX. We appreciated those operators that followed the DX Code of Conduct and wish those that didn’t would recognize the problems they cause for themselves and others.

Figure 9

Figure 9 – Results

The erratic propagation required you to spend significant time in the chair to work us. We received many e-mails from people who got in the log with 100 watts and a dipole or vertical. We worked a number of mobile stations. I think these operators know their limitations and leveraged their skill to find an opening rather than rely on the cluster.

There were two other DX-peditions and a Cuban Special Events station on the air at the same time. We know from e-mails received afterwards that some people who thought they worked TX3X found their call sign in another station’s log. Maybe this was caused by incorrectly posted call signs on the cluster or overlapping pile-ups on the narrow bands?

How many times have you walked along a sandy beach, saw a bottle on the sand, and discovered a message in the bottle? The first team to arrive on the island saw a few wine bottles on the sand. Upon further investigation one of them contained a message. The bottle was dropped in the ocean on March 30, 2014 (18 months before) from the cruise ship “Carnival Spirit” by a family from Australia. The ship was traveling from Noumea to Sydney. We sent an e-mail to the family from the island and later followed up from Noumea with more details and photos.

While we were disappointed with the weather and propagation conditions, we realize that there are some things we can’t control. We very much appreciate the support from the global DX foundations, clubs, individuals and partners who helped make this project a reality. Our corporate sponsors were equally important to the project.

The global pilot team led by Ralph W4HK, our QSL consultant Tim M0URX and our social media guru Glenn KE4KY did a wonderful job.  We met many fine people in New Zealand and New Caledonia who assisted us before and after the project. The highlights of the project included giving ATNOs, putting people on the Honor Roll, Top of the Honor Roll, and supporting the Auckland, New Zealand North Shore Boy / Girl Scouts with our surplus equipment donation.

I’d be remiss by not mentioning the camaraderie, cooperation and friendship of the TX3X team, the global pilots and all those who helped us throughout the project.

Please visit our website at:


How many DX’ers are there in the World?

clublog uniques3

Continent 1+ logged QSOs 2+ logged QSOs 6+ logged QSOs
Europe 269,000 132,000 77,500
North America 157,000 82,000 46,000
Asia 73,000 33,000 18,000
South America 17,300 7,800 4,000
Oceania 13,400 6,400 3,500
Africa 7,800 3,400 1,800
Antarctica 151* 63 37

The sample size is 24 million QSOs. Counting just unique callsigns appears to me to strongly emphasize problem QSOs. That’s a trend which should be expected to get worse with a bigger sample, since that would mean there will be more unique errors in the data. For example, if the size of the sample doubled to 48 million QSOs then the 1+ QSOs column would inflate a lot, and the others would increase too. It’s probably best to focus on the 6+ column, above. That means that likely over 50 people have the call in their log worldwide; small enough to catch very short operations but large enough to avoid one-off mistakes.

How many unique callsigns in Club Log

The countries are grouped by continent as per normal ARRL conventions (followed strictly by Club Log). Allow for special events, contest calls, temporary callsigns, as well as logging errors. It’s striking that individual logging errors must be a substantial source of uniques in the average log. Is there another explanation for the difference between 151 and 37 Antarctic stations when we require not one, but 6+ references to the call? In the context of 24 million QSOs, noise is significant. I suppose that some callsigns will get busted more than others, too – and the more prefixes there are in a continent, perhaps the more error-prone that continent becomes?

Here are the top 30 DXCC entities by population (using the 6+ QSOs filter and again working from 1 January 2012 to the present day, April 2013):

USA 40809
JAPAN 11340
ITALY 8074
ENGLAND (many special calls in use in 2012) 7750
SPAIN 4822
SCOTLAND (many special calls in use in 2012) 887

A further analysis which I have performed is to check whether continental populations are changing in proportion over time. Are any continents showing an increase relative to others? Since 2000, it seems probably not. Here is the data (“Unique callsigns by continent, as found in Club Log data from 2000 to 2013 where unique means a distinct callsign appearing not less than 3 times”).

2000 0.0% 13.0% 45.7% 34.4% 2.5% 3.0%
2001 0.0% 12.8% 46.1% 35.0% 2.1% 2.7%
2002 0.0% 12.6% 46.7% 34.5% 2.1% 2.9%
2003 0.0% 12.0% 51.2% 30.8% 1.9% 2.9%
2004 0.0% 12.1% 51.4% 30.5% 2.0% 2.7%
2005 0.0% 11.5% 53.5% 29.2% 1.9% 2.5%
2006 0.0% 10.8% 54.3% 29.2% 2.0% 2.3%
2007 0.0% 11.0% 53.0% 30.4% 2.1% 2.3%
2008 0.0% 11.0% 52.9% 30.2% 2.2% 2.4%
2009 0.0% 11.3% 50.9% 31.7% 2.2% 2.6%
2010 0.0% 11.8% 50.9% 31.0% 2.3% 2.8%
2011 0.0% 12.4% 48.7% 32.6% 2.3% 2.8%
2012 0.0% 12.1% 50.7% 30.8% 2.3% 2.8%
2013 0.0% 11.5% 52.0% 30.9% 2.0% 2.4%

(Apologies for the absence of AF in the data above – this was unintentionally missed off by G7VJR when copying the data into HTML – I will add this data back shortly).


VP8STI (AN-009) & VP8SGI (AN-007)



The South Sandwich Islands are a cold and inhospitable place. At 59 degrees south, Southern Thule Island is one of the most remote places on Earth.

Southern Thule is closer to the polar circle and the South Pole than either Bouvet Island or Heard Island. To get there, we will voyage the Drake Passage and brave strong winds and high seas.

The Intrepid-DX Group is proud to announce a major ham radio expedition to two rare entities in January-February 2016. South Sandwich Island and South Georgia Island are two of the most remote places on Earth. This DXpedition is made possible by the generous financial support of the global DX Community.

We invite you to follow our progress on this website as we move forward with our plans to activate these two rare entities. The content of our website will be constantly updated, so please check our progress frequently.

On January 9th, 2016 a team of fourteen Intrepid DXers will depart Stanley, the Falkland Islands on the venerable RV Braveheart and embark on a 37 day voyage encompassing South Sandwich and South Georgia Islands. Our plans have us activating South Sandwich island first as it is the #3 most wanted DXCC in Clublog. We will be active on South Sandwich for eight full days, weather and sea conditions permitting. We expect to start our activation of VP8STI on January 17th.

We will then re-board the RV Braveheart and make a voyage to South Georgia Island, the #8th most wanted DXCC entity. We will activate South Georgia Island for eight full days starting on or about February 1st, 2016. Including set up and tear down time,we plan to be on each island for ten days.

While we intend to activate these two rare entities during this voyage, our primary activity and focus is completing eight days of activation at South Sandwich Island as it is most needed by the global dx community. This is our primary goal is to do a good job from South Sandwich before moving to South Georgia Island.

Our total budget for this DXpedition is $425,000 much of which is being provided by the fourteen team members. We invite all Foundation, Club and individual donations via our Donate page.

You can follow our news and activity via this website as well as our Facebook and Twitter posts. More information on the   [ official site ]


UK students to talk with astronaut Tim Peake on ISS

K1024 ISS ULF3 STS-129

Working with the UK Space Agency, ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) is giving a number of UK schools the opportunity to speak directly to Tim Peake, the first British ESA astronaut, during his mission on board the International Space Station (ISS).

This will enable live interaction between pupils and Tim and is anticipated to be one of the highlights of the Principia STEM outreach programme.

During his 6 month mission to the ISS, starting in December 2015, Tim will be undertaking a wide range of science experiments, some of which have been designed by students from around the UK.

Additionally he has committed to take part in a large range of educational outreach activities with schools and colleges around the country.

Jeremy Curtis, Head of Education at the UK Space Agency, said:
“Both Tim’s space mission and amateur radio have the power to inspire young people and encourage them into STEM subjects. By bringing them together we can boost their reach and give young people around the UK the chance to be involved in a space mission and a hands-on project that will teach them new skills.”

The pre-arranged schools contacts will take place between January and April 2016 and students will be able to put a number of questions directly to Tim using amateur radio VHF and UHF radio equipment specially installed at the school for the occasion.

For Tim Peake’s mission, the ARISS team of licensed UK Radio Amateurs is planning a world first by also receiving live video from the ISS during the contact. Using the HamTV transmitter, which has recently been commissioned on board the ISS, Tim will be the first astronaut to use this equipment during a two way schools contact.

As well as building a vehicle based receive system, which will be installed at the school on the day of the contact, the team recently visited Goonhilly Earth Station in Cornwall to commission a dish to receive the 2.4 GHz HamTV transmissions from the ISS.

The 3.8 metre dish owned by Satellite Applications Catapult is being loaned to the project to track the ISS and will ensure real time video will be available during the schools’ contacts scheduled for early next year. The dish is almost in the shadow of the 29 metre dish “Arthur” built in 1962 to receive the first transatlantic television signals from the Telstar-1 spacecraft.

During the contact at the schools the ARISS team will be providing information displays on the ISS position and have webcams showing both the local and Goonhilly dishes as they track the ISS.

The hosting schools will be organising presentations and displays before and after the contact and the ARISS team will be providing a live web cast of all the day’s events including the actual contact with Tim Peake.

The live event webcast will be hosted by the British Amateur Television Club (BATC) on their web streaming service at

The ARISS programme is designed to maximise the impact of the Principia Mission outreach activities. It will directly engage students with media and communication technologies with the goal of inspiring them to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.