Category: DX

ZL8X: Pile Ups and Parrots



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.


photo 1s

Expédition aux îles Wollaston & Hermite (SA-031) et aux îles Diego Ramirez (SA-097)

par Cezar Trifu (VE3LYC)

L’île Herschel fait partie du groupe Hermite, situé à quelque 120 km au sud de Puerto Williams, près du Cap Horn. On a jeté l’ancre à Caleta Martial et on a mis le camp sur la plage longue et étroite. La tente pour l’opération radio mesurait 5 pieds sur 6 pieds et 5 pieds de hauteur. Pour nous reposer, nous avons installé une tente plus petite à une vingtaine de mètres en haut d’une colline afin d’éviter les vagues qui auraient pu balayer la plage. Comme antennes, on a installé une antenne verticale Force 12 pour les bandes de 17 et 20 m, et un fil vertical pour les bandes de 20, 30 et 40 m. Pour pouvoir consigner le maximum de stations on a utilisé un seul indicatif par bande et mode. Durant la journée, chacun de nous deux faisait son tour, mais Johan (PA3EXX) faisait le gros, tandis que moi, je travaillais toute la nuit et la matinée. Nous avons dormi à bord du bateau et on se relayait pour le diner qui était toujours délicieux.

VP8ORK The DXpedition to The South Orkney Islands


Activating the far-away islands of the Antarctic is one of the toughest challenges in amateur radio.  Only a handful of entities outside this region can come close to their logistical, environmental and financial hurdle.


The South Orkney Islands, VP8/o, easily fall into this category, which is why they were a perfect target for the “Microlite Penguins DXpedition Team”.


Our small group came up with the idea for a DXpedition to these islands back in early 2007 after discussing the possibility with the owner of the ship “Braveheart”.  Safe and reliable transportation with 24 hour off-shore life support is absolutely crucial in places like Antarctica, and without an experienced vessel like Braveheart we would not have even considered the idea.  Eventually the team grew to 13 people: 9V1YC, K0IR, W3WL, W7EW, VE3EJ, WB9Z, K9ZO, ND2T, N1DG, N6MZ, N4GRN, EY8MM and K6AW.  This highly experienced team had travelled to 6 different DXCC entities in the Antarctic region as well as numerous other top-ten destinations.