31 October 2018
After the website was visited by a few thousands of hams from 59 DXCCs, we decided to change how traffic is tracked. This decision explains the current low figures in the view counter.
26 October 2018
In just a little over 5 weeks, we will head down to French Polynesia for the challenging activation of these rare IOTA groups. Time flies quickly now, as we try our best to calmly hold our excitement in check as we prepare in intimate detail how best to reach the atolls.
The landing plan consists of two stages. In the first stage, the two of us will occupy one of the zodiacs, in which we need to secure the radio equipment, power components, and camping gear. This zodiac will be tracked close to the reef by a second zodiac, manoeuvred by the skipper. From there, the second part of the landing will require that we paddle hard to go across the reef, trying to be in synch with the incoming waves, keeping the boat well balanced. We will obviously scout in advance for the best location to undertake it, hoping for a low ocean swell, with little to no wind.
In order to best mitigate the hazards, we will wear diving suits and gloves, as well as hiking boots. I think that it will be necessary to take at least two trips in order to bring all the radio, power, and camping equipment to the atoll. Depending on the actual sealed drums available, we may leave some spare radio components on the yacht, at least one rig and one antenna, maybe one generator too.
We are grateful to those who have already provided us with financial support. At a price-tag of $28.5k, if we can resell the power components upon our return in Rikitea, this is truly a very costly endeavour. Since French Polynesia ranks low among the Most Wanted DXCC, we know that virtually all the support will come from the IOTA community. Consequently, we are looking for more islands chasers, particularly from EU and NA, who are willing to help us out. We need your assistance!
14 October 2018
We are please to announce an IOTA Expedition to the remote Acteon and Morane Groups, in the southeastern French Polynesia, during the first part of December 2018. The licensing authority have graciously approved the special callsigns TX0A and TX0M, which we had requested for radio activity from each of these groups, respectively.
The DXCC of French Polynesia.
The atolls of Maria Est and Morane are uninhabited, and there is no boat transportation to them commonly available in Mangareva. Worth noting, the skipper agreed to bring his yacht to Mangareva specifically for this project, which involves rather complex logistics. The coral reef of both Maria Est and Morane atolls offer no entrance into the lagoon, which are fully enclosed and hypersaline. To say that landing on and departing from these atolls will be challenging is an understatement. However, once we manage to cross the reef (fingers crossed!), moving all the equipment to and from one of the sandbanks will be equally difficult. In order to mitigate the hazards and increase safety, the skipper will bring on his yacht two inflatable dinghies. One of them will remain with the operating team at all times during their stay on each atoll.
With skipper Jean-Yves (right) and his wife Sandrine (center) at the southernmost bar
in the world, run by Micalvi Yacht Club (Navarino Island, Jan 2011).
The plan is to operate from each atoll for 5 full days. The typical dominant wind for that period of the year tends to blow from the east, in which case the first stop will be Morane, followed by Maria Est. If so, the tentative schedule is to operate from Morane between December 6 to 10 (based on the UTC time), and from Maria Est between December 12 to 16. Nevertheless, the wind can also blow from the southeast or northeast, which can change the above tentative plan. Consequently, the final decision regarding the sailing itinerary will be made at the time of leaving Mangareva, based on the weather forecast.
On each island, the operating team will communicate with the crew on the yacht via VHF radio. The chasers will be able to track our progress via the InReach system. The tracking link will be made available between December 2 and 19. The inReach system will also allow us to exchange information with Johan (PA3EXX), our Pilot Station. He will keep the community informed on our progress, and provide us with appropriate feedback.
The team must return to Mangareva by no later than the morning of December 18, in order for Cezar and Adrian to catch their flight to Papeete, from where they will fly first to San Francisco, and then to Toronto and New York City, respectively. They should be back home before midnight on December 19.
This is a complex and extremely expensive project, and we need your support to defray some of the considerable costs incurred! All donors will be acknowledged timely on this website.
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