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News 24.11.2010

Written by DL8OH, November 24th 2010, 01:30

ZL8X is on the air!

Today is Wednesday and it is the 4th day of operation. All stations are manned and pouring out signals around the clock. Radios, amplifiers, computers and antennas are working fine and smoothly.

The “Braveheart” took us from Tauranga in New Zealand to Raoul Island, which is the main island of the Kermadec group. Matt Jolly and his crew made it a nice and easy voyage. The Southern Pacific turned out to be more or less calm and friendly and allowed some homecall/mm –operation for those of us who fought successfully seasickness.

Arriving at Raoul Island early in the morning enabled us to bring all radio and camp equipment to the island in one day. We received a warm welcome from Jessica and her DoC staff on Raoul Island. They helped us a lot in landing all equipment safely and carrying it to the operation site, which is 2 km west of the landing point. The next two days were full of work and efforts and everyone was heavily engaged to set up the camp, stations and antennas.

The first evening we enjoyed a perfect BBQ of the DoC and spend a couple of hours with interesting talks with the DOC-people and the Braveheart crew.

Erecting 8 stations and 20 antennas was not an easy job. At the end of the day there were:

  • 160m: V160E 27m high vertical
  • 80m: 4square and inv. V
  • 40m and 30m: two 4squares each
  • 10m to 20m: five Spiderbeams (monobanders) and five VDAs (Vertical Dipole Arrays)
  • 6m: 5 el Yagi

The first QSO was made on November 19th on 0702z with JA8ECS, another 2799 followed. On the next day, we still had to do a lot of work, so it was November 21st as the first day of full operation: Tremendous pileups and almost 16.000 QSOs on this day! Nights and hours around sunrise and sunset are the busiest ones. Pileups during daytime are somewhat less heavy but most stations are manned anyway.

Part of the “Braveheart” crew with Broughton, Karl and Richard erected the two camps with tents, generators and kitchen and is keeping us well motivated now with fine meals 3 times a day, showers and all support we need. DoC people are very supportive too. They show up from time to time for a chat and offer their help.

Raoul Island is a beautiful spot in the South Pacific with a moderate climate, a flamboyant vegetation with exotic, plants and flowers. Especially the Pohutekawa-tree (the NZ christmas tree!!) is in its bright red flowers now. There is also a special kind of small green parrot, which can only be found on this Island. The coastline shows steep cliffs and vivid white surfs, which grow in heavy winds. Raoul Island is considered an active volcano, although it is suppose to sleep right now. Some 8 rangers from DoC (Department of Conservation) are working hard to bring the island back to its pristine state with eliminating all kinds of animals and plants that came to the island by man and do not belong to it originally ( i.e. rats, mice, cats, goats etc). They have already achieved a lot and are still working very hard on this programme.

We are in our operating routine now, i.e. we are either on the radio or in the camp for sleeping. Shifts of 8 to 16 hours a day do not leave much room for personal pleasure. Fun and motivation comes from fighting the pileups and those rare contacts over long path or uncommon times. And it comes from y o u r positive feedback in QSOs, mails and packet talks. Please keep doing so all the time !!


Yesterday we had the pleasure to congratulate one of our team members. It was his 40th birthday. Prost Felix!


We uploaded some of pictures into the gallery to show you some impressions of our trip so far. Just enjoy!


Of course some questions about our QSL routes came up during the last days. We are very proud that Mario DJ2MX is again our QSL manager. And he surely also handles direct post which will be sent. But mainly we want to bring you to our OQRS (Online QSL Request System) which will save you time and money and us a lot of extra work. After the DXpedition the OQRS will be opened on our website. So please QRX...