Felix Riess, DL5XL
In November 2010, an international team organized by the Bavarian Contest Club (BCC) operated from Raoul Island (IOTA OC-Ø39) in the southwest Pacific. Fourteen hams used eight stations simultaneously to achieve more than 150,000 contacts within 17 days of operating time.
There’s always the same question being raised after every successful DXpedition: what will be the destination for the next trip? The Bavarian Contest Club team led by Chris, DL1MGB, had already carried out two expeditions that turned out well: first, Norfolk Island was activated using the call sign VK9DNX, followed by VK9DWX from Willis Island. For 2010, it took long discussions and lots of research until a new target was found: the team would go to the Kermadec Islands in the southwest Pacific. Apart from a few smaller activities, there had only been two major expeditions to this remote island group in recent years: a group from New Zealand, led by ZL2HU, made about 34,000 contacts in May 1996, and the international “Microlite Penguins” team achieved more than 40,000 QSOs in October 2006. In 2009, the “DX Magazine” ranked Kermadec number 28 on the list of most wanted DXCC entities. The demand for ZL8 contacts among the DX community was undoubtedly high. But first of all, lots of logistical and organizational questions would have to be cleared up.
The Kermadec Islands are situated about 600 miles northeast of New Zealand and consist of four larger islands as well as a number of barren rocks. There is no native population. Raoul Island, which was inhabited by Polynesian people in the 14th century, is the location of a permanently occupied meteorological station. Obviously, this would be the only place for us to set up our stations. All the previous expeditions had also operated from Raoul.