It all came down to this. After decades of trying to confirm QSOs with every DXCC land mass in the world, a ham radio contact with one desolate island on the opposite side of our globe was all that I needed to finally reach the Top of the DXCC Honor Roll. And after four years of planning, in March of this year a team of 12 strong and brave scientists, who were also ham radio operators, took a long, difficult voyage to get there to give me that QSO with the final DXCC entity I needed to “run the table.”
VK0EK team ready to depart Cape Town
|Natives stand guard over tent city|
For them it was a commitment of nearly seven weeks. The international team first flew into Cape Town, South Africa from countries around the globe. Next they sterilized everything they were taking with them because Heard Island is a nature preserve, not to be polluted. They packed all of their radio gear, generators, fuel, food, water and an endless list of other stuff. They then loaded all of that, along with themselves, on a vessel called The Braveheart and voyaged 12 long days to Heard. That voyage was more than 3-thousand miles long and the ship averaged 11 miles per hour through cold and rough seas. Imagine driving in an automobile night and day without stop at 11 miles an hour for 12 days going from the southern California coast to the northeastern tip of Maine (about the same length of trip). When the DXpedition ended another voyage of comparable distance was required departing Heard for Perth, Australia. Then came the work of unpacking the ship before flying home to wherever. And while on the island they struggled in bitterly cold weather erecting a huge field of antennas, a tent city had to be built, six stations had to be set up, then those stations had to be operated 24/7, all the research had to be carried out to discover new forms of life in the extremes and finally there was the “fun” of tearing it all down and packing it back aboard ship.
|One of many antennas amid desolation|
But best of all is the pride I feel in the fine company I share on that cloud. The WVDXA has eight members at #1 DXCC Honor Roll. In alphabetical order the other seven are N8DX, W8HC, W8OM (ex WA8VPN), W3UR, W8UV, W8WEJ, and WA8WV. Three other members - K4OM, W8TN and W8QY - just need one more entity to have them all. And three SK members made the #1 list before they moved on to that great ham shack in the sky - W8AH, W8QHG and W8GG. Not bad for our little club, huh?