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Monday, March 30, 2009

Rockall Island - MMØRAI/p - A True DX Adventure

Have you heard of Rockall Island? It's a foreboding chunk of rock protruding out of the North Atlantic Ocean some 187 miles West of Scotland. It counts for Scotland (GM) for DXCC purposes but is possibly the "Most Wanted" location for IOTA hunters (it is EU189.) The island is about 83 feet by 100 feet at the base and some 70 feet high. There is a small "ledge" some 13 feet below the summit which is 11 by 14 feet. Those who have seen the Scarborough Reef photos would say it's a pretty good sized location. However, with near vertical cliffs on all sides and a being battered by huge waves, I'd much rather take my chances on Scarborough.
For the past 7 months a group of Five Belgian Amateur Radio Operators have been planning and training for a 2-day operation on this desolate rock. This is a VERY difficult location to put on an amateur radio operation. It is a 2-day sail from Scotland and then they have to scale the rock out of the sea! There is NO place to land and they will need to scale the rock using mountain climbing techniques which the team has been practising.
They plan to have two stations with verticals and a rotatable dipole. Because you only need to contact an Island in the IOTA program once regardless of band, they ask that you not make duplicate QSO's and leave an opportunity for others to make the QSO. The operation is expected to begin around April 30th.
You can check out their web site HERE and read about their extensive preparations. Also, you can view a video of Tom McClean landing on Rockall. He set up a shelter and stayed on the rock for 40 days! Tom was the first person to row across the North Atlantic in 1969 - solo!

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