News and Updates
Nov.1 2019: The VP6R DXpedition is now QRT. The last QSO went into the log at 1800 UTC with a QSO total of approximately 80,000. All the antennas are safely down and packed and the team is beaking for lunch.
On behalf of the team, our off-island support members, and our sponsors; may I say thank you to our DX audience for your interest, support, and of course, the QSOs.
To the kids at the Dorothy Grant Elementary School, thank you for taking part in this great adventure with us through ham radio. You brightened our path.
We had fun with this. We hope you did too.
73 — Ralph – K0IR
Oct. 26, 2019: The team is now active in the CQWW SSB Contest. They are running a multi-multi station and will be on all open bands. Give them a call! There will be no idle stations. Those not active in the contest will be on CW or a WARC band.
The last two days have been difficult. Very heavy rains and gale-force winds have lashed the island. Two antennas came down but were promptly repaired and erected again. Roads and paths between our two sites are extremely muddy and slippery. Walking and moving equipment is difficult.
The weather interrupted the link between our two sites. This has impacted our ability to upload logs. However, no QSO’s have been lost.
Spirits remain high; we hope you are enjoying the DXpedition. We are.
Oct. 20, 2019: The team is experiencing some timing issues with FT8. They are working to remedy this. If your QSO is “questionable” as a result, do not hesitate to work them again.
Oct. 19, 2019: As I’m sure all of you are aware, the team is now active from Pitcairn. It has been easier for them to post to Facebook than forward images to be placed on the website. Hopefully, that will change. Above are photos of the main op site, the surrounding antennas, and the 6 meter EME antenna going up.
Oct. 16, 2019: The team completed their flight from Tahiti to Mangareva safely. Last heard they were aboard the ferry taking them from the landing strip to the pier where the Braveheart was waiting for them. They likely sailed on the afternoon/evening of Oct. 15th. Weather permitting, they should be anchored off Pitcairn at local sunrise on the 17th.
Oct. 13, 2019: Our team of 13 is now in Tahiti. They will spend two nights there and use the time to coordinate shipping of their personal gear, make some last minute purchases, have some strategy meetings, and get a bit of rest after their long travels.
They are shown having a lunch and are clockwise: JR4OZR, W6IZT, N6HC, K9NW, EA3HSO, K9CT, W0GJ, EY8MM, K0PC, W8HC, N4GRN, SM5AQD, and W0VTT.
THIS IS SPECIAL!
Meet the third grade class from the Dorothy Grant Elementary School in Fontana, California, and their teacher Bev – WA6BK.
Using the school’s club station, K6DGE, these kids will follow the Pitcairn Island DXpedition team’s travels and operation from Pitcairn Island. They will talk with the DXpedition team members and learn about Pitcairn Island, some geography, a bit about early explorers, navigation, the oceans, ecology, different customs and heritages, and communication skills.
We are thrilled to have these kids following us and expanding their world through amateur radio.
VP6R Pitcairn Island Press Release 10 October 2019
I experienced a sudden and relatively severe, acute illness and was hospitalized for a number of days. I am recovering at home, but the risk of compromising the DXpedition to Pitcairn Island is too great for me to make the trip with the team. My friend Glenn, W0GJ, will take on my responsibilities and the DXpedition will proceed as otherwise planned.
Most team members will have begun their travels within the next 24-48 hours. The October 15th flight to Mangareva and boarding of the Braveheart remain on schedule.
This is a great disappointment for me, but the show will go on. I thank all of you for your past encouragement and support. I have great confidence in all of our team members; they will give this DXpedition their all.
Ralph – K0IR
The team members are very disappointed that Ralph K0IR is unable to go with us. Ralph has invested countless hours organizing and preparing for a successful DXpedition! In fact, it has been so well organized that it is almost on autopilot! We have been unable to find a replacement for Ralph on such short notice. Many potential substitutes were unable to clear their schedules to be gone for a month with just a few hours notice.
We are READY to go! All of our personal bags are packed, as we had to have weight & volumes for Air Tahiti, our Papeete to Mangareva flight next Tuesday. That connection is only once per week. The Braveheart will be waiting for us and we’ll set sail almost immediately for Pitcairn. We will be arriving Thursday morning at Pitcairn. All of our cargo is ALREADY at our operating site. We will work hard that first day to get as many antennas up as possible to get on the air by the end of the day, Thursday, October 17. We must must QRT by November 2 to make it back to Mangareva to catch the weekly flight again.
We are going to work extra hard as a team to make Ralph proud of us, as he has all but invested the last two years of his life into this project.
Visit our website often for updates. There you will find contact information for our pilots who will help us optimize our band/modes and propagation paths. Any information on long or short path openings would be welcome to our pilots. Financial contributions are most welcome, too! See our website for more details.
73 and see you in the pileups!
Glenn – W0GJ
Sept. 29, 2019: We are pleased to announce our pilot station network for the Pitcairn Island DXpedition. Our pilot station system is in place to relay your reports, concerns, and advise to us through our pilot stations. Initially, the information most important to us will be when we are being heard in your area. This is especially true if there are openings to more than one geographical area at the same time and one of those areas has strong signals that obscure stations calling from the other areas. We need to attend to those weaker signals and your reports will help us do that.
With time your band and mode needs will be relayed to us through our system. Constructive criticism is welcome as well.
Our system is somewhat “Eurocentric,” with north, south, east, and western Europe each having a representative in our system. We do this because needs for a VP6 contact are greater in Europe and European signals may be “under” stronger signals from other geographical areas.
Our chief and North American pilot is Jerry, WB9Z. He will be supported by JJ3PRT, OG2M, R7LV, G3XTT, EA3AKP, IK0FVC, NP4G, ZS1C, and ZL3IO. Please go to our Pilots and Off-Island Team Members page for more details.
We want you in our log and we want you to have fun working us.
Sept. 23, 2019: We are pleaed to announce The Pitcairn Island DXpedition’s participation in the 2019 CQWW SSB Contest on the Oct. 26th and 27th weekend. We will be a full-scale Multi-Multi entry with stations active on 160 through 10 meters.
This will be the first-ever CQWW SSB Contest entry from Pitcairn Island and the first time the VP6 multiplier has been offered in this contest.
If you’re not in the contest and need the contact, call us anyway. Just give us our signal report and your CQ zone number in the exchange. We want you in our log! Be sure to have a little fun by working some other stations too.
Sept. 18, 2019: There has never been 60 meter activity from Pitcairn Island. We were excited about ativating 60 meters from Pitcairn, but our request for 60 meter privileges was denied.
However, with the combined efforts of W8GEX, G4MWO, VP6MW, ZL4OL, ZL2JMP, and K0IR; we drafted an appeal based on ITU regulations and 60 meter usage in other British Overseas Territories. To our great pleasure, our appeal was accepted and the initial denial recinded. We now have 60 meter privileges and will activate that band from Pitcairn Island.
We offer special thanks to ZL1BUQ, the Telecommunications Network Manager for the Government of the Pitcairn Islands for his consideration of our appeal.
Sept. 17, 2019: Indeed, the roads dried quickly and our gear was moved to our primary op site on Pitcairn Island. Here are four images of our equipment, safely stored and ready for us to unpack when we arrive.
Sept. 7, 2019: The Braveheart arrived at Pitcairn Island on schedule on Sept. 6. After waiting out a torrential rain, all our gear was transferred from the Braveheart to the island’s longboats, taken ashore, and stored in the engineering building.
When the roads dry out, our equipment will be transferred to our operating sites. When we arrive in October, all we need to take ashore will be our personal bags. This will save us hours of time and get us on the air faster.
Aug. 17, 2019: Here are some images taken during the arrival of our sea container at the pier and the transfer of our gear onto the Braveheart. It has yet to be stowed and secured. Nigel and a friend are seen seated in the container. Matt Jolly, Nigel’s son, is in the “selfie” with our gear in the background. The lattice tower sections are part of the DX Engineering ninty foot 160 meter vertical. A complete Flex station is inside nine of the black Pelican cases.
Aug. 14, 2019: Today the RV Braveheart completed the loading of its cargo, including all our Pitcairn Island Dxpedition equipment. Our Flex radios, ACOM amplifiers, Yagi and vertical antennas, masts, feedlines, computers, network gear, tools, and our personal luggage is all aboard and securred. The vessel will depart Tauranga, New Zealand early next week.
We’ve had a slight change in plans which benefits everyone. The Braveheart will make a preliminary stop at Pitcairn on September 6th. Our gear will come off the vessel and be stored on the island until we arrive on about October 17. This should get us on the air faster and circumvent any potential weather delays.
Things are moving quickly now and our team is anxious to get underway. If you’ve supported us, we thank you. If not, please consider doing so. Cash is flowing out very rapidly now. No matter what, let’s do this thing and have some fun!
Aug.12, 2019: Yesterday, while the Braveheart was preparing to load, a little suprise package arrived. Actually it was a pallet-sized surprise package delivered by a truck and fork lift. Jim, KØJUH (aka “The Old Duck Hunter”), is sponsoring the Pitcairn Island DXpedition by supplying us with two weeks worth of Coca Cola products. Thank you for your exceptional generosity, Jim. We’ll be thinking of you every sip of the way.
July 28, 2019: We’ve established the foundation for this DXpedition; the transportation, the permit and license process, and the on-island infrastructure, — shelter, radios, antennas, amplifiers, and band plans. Now it’s time to dream a bit and ask ourselves, “What if?”
Imagine a place of solitude in nature’s immensity, aspire to what could be, and, for us, turn loose the strength of your imagination.
Ifa scout group could visit an amateur radio station communicating with the Pitcairn Island DXpedition and learn about amateur radio.
Ifthis DXpedition could re-kindle interest in the movies, Mutiny on the Bounty, or in reading or re-reading the novel of the same name.
Ifa grade school class could follow the DXpeditioners’ travels, learn about the history of Pitcairn Island, the Bounty, and Fletcher Chirstian’s descendants. Perhaps they could even correspond with the school children on Pitcairn or do a video chat with them in real time.
Ifdiscussion groups could ponder the question, “Would Pitcairn Island as we know it even exist had it not been for the astronomical event, the 1769 transit of Venus ?”
Ifthis DXpedition and the history of Pitcairn Island gave us insight into the perils and pitfalls of maritime navigation faced by early mariners and explorers.
Ifthis DXpedition helped us all understand the variety, uniqueness, and beauty of other cultures.
Ifsome of you, in our audience, could help us achieve these goals.
July 18, 2019: It happened once again. Unexpected business and time demands pop-up in all our lives. Jim, N9TK (left) has had to withdraw from our team. Jim has contributed a great to make this DXpedition happen and we will miss him.
Hawk, SM5ADQ (right), will tbe taking Jim’s place on the team. Hawk has traveled with us before, is a well-known DXer and DXpeditioner, and excellent operator. He will be one more voice and set of ears for Europe. Welcome to the team, Hawk!
July 10, 2019: We deeply regret that Jerry, WB9Z, must withdraw from the Pitcairn Island on-island DXpedition team. Jerry has had long-standing knee problems and feels the stresses from the Pitcairn Island terrain may cause him undue pain and difficulty. However, Jerry will assume the role of our chief pilot and remain very much involved with the DXpedition. Our thanks to Jerry for what he has already contributed and for the role he is assuming.
Allan, EA3HSO, will take Jerry’s place on the island Allan is a budding new DXpeditioner with an exceptional skill set, team-orientated attitude, abundant energy, and a voice for Europe. Welcome to the team, Allan!
July 9, 2019: Our sea container arrived in New Zealand on schedule and intact. It has cleared customs and quarantine. Its contents and associated documentation were such that no fumigation was required.
The next step will be unloading the container and transferring our supplies and equipment to the Braveheart when the vessel is ready to take them aboard and secure them.
Now —— we have to pay this.
June 6, 2019: Our sea container made its way by rail to the port of Philadelphia. There were a number of logistical tangles to unravel, but ultimately everything was cleared and the container put aboard the ship, Spirit of Hamburg. At this moment it is southbound aboard the vessel just off the east coast of Delaware. Its estimated time of arrival in Tauranga, New Zealand is July 6. This should allow an ample safety margin for any unforeseen delays.
May 24, 2019: Yesterday marked another major logistical waypoint in the Pitcairn Island DXpedition. After verifying that we had all our equipment packed, our container was locked and a U.S. Customs seal applied. A crane then lifted the container on a truck for transportation to a Chicago railhead. From Chicago, the container will go by rail to the East Coast and from there by container ship to Tauranga, New Zealand where its contents will go aboard the RV Braveheart in mid August.
Images of the container loading are in the slider below.
Container Shipping Day: May 23, 2019
This is it. Everything going to Pitcairn has to be in the container. You see it fully packed with our Flex radios and computers up front in their Pelican cases.
The crane moved into place, attached rigging to the container, and began its lift.
Spin It Around
Line It Up
Lock It Down
Good To Go!
The container is off to the railhead in Chicago. From there it will go by rail to the East Coast and then by container ship to Tauranga, New Zealand.
The contents will go aboard the RV Braveheart in early August and we’ll meet up with them in Mangareva on October 15.
May 13, 2019: Nine of the VP6R team had a very productive weekend in Peoria, Illinois. You can read about our progress and view some images in the slider below. The next time we lay hands on this gear will be when we off-load it from the Braveheart and take it ashore on Pitcairn Island.
Marching to Peoria - May 10, 2019
Nine of us (N4GRN, W8HC, N9NW, K9CT, WB9Z, W0GJ, K0PC, W0VTT, and K0IR) spent the weekend in Peoria, IL We removed all the needed items from the 40 ft. sea container that traveled from the U.S. to Chile; to Bouvet (never landed or unpacked); to Cape Town, SA; back to Chle; and finally back to the U.S. We inventoried the needed items, tested them, and repacked them in our 20 foot sea container bound for New Zealand.
Lay It All Out!
In short order we had equipment spread all over the adjacent parking lot. Aluminum masts, PVC tubes filled with beams, rolls of coax, reels of radial wire, components of a 90 foot 160 meter vertical, Spiderbeam poles, power supplies, amplifiers, Pelican cases containing complete stations, EME equipment, and dozens of crates of small parts lay in front of us.
Plan The Repack
There’s a lot to think about. Cargo hold openings, weights, fork-lift access, top loading, balance, customs access, tight packing, and order of importance to name a few. But, after talking it over, we had a plan and began packing the new container.
List and Inventory
The contents of each crate, box, barrell, or bundle were recorded on packing slips and in a master inventory list for customs.
Queue Up and Palletize Items
Heavy things on the bottom, light-weight items on top, with efficient use of space — think everything through.
Repacking the Amplifiers
Jerry, WB9Z, and Mike, K9NW, removed the ACOM 1500 amplifiers from their cardboard packing and placed them into our specially constructed plywood cases for added protecton during their long journery.
Steady As She Goes.
With the steady hand of K0PC, our fork-lift operator, we got everything accurately positioned inside the new container.
The Die is Cast.
Here’s George, N4GRN, completing the documentation. We are packed, locked, and loaded. A crane will place our container on a truck on May 23rd and the DXpedition gear will begin its journey to Pitcairn Island by truck, rail, and sea.
May 5, 2019: Here’s an update on our progress. Our newly acquired 20 foot sea container has been set in place next to the 40 footer we used for the Bouvet attempt. Our laptops have all been updated, loaded with appropriate software, and tested. Our Flex stations have arrived, all packed in Pelican cases and including in each a Flex 6700, power supply, foot switch, Radiosport headset, and necessary accessories.
Members of our team will arrive at the staging site in Peoria, IL on May 10th and begin inventorying everything being shipped to Pitcairn, testing the gear, doing some pre-assembly, re-packing the needed gear into the 20 foot container, and documenting everything for customs.
Our container will be picked up and trucked to a railhead in Chicago on May 21 to begin its journey to a container ship bound for Tauranga, New Zealand.
The inland freight cost, customs and agency fees, and ocean freight costs represnet a significant and current expense for us. If you have supported financially, we thank you. If not, this would be a great time to consider a donation to help us.
— The Pitcairn Island DXpedition Team
April 30, 2019: Our 20 foot sea container arrived in Peoria, IL today. On the weekend of May 11-12, members of our team will assemble there to transfer our Pitcairn-bound equipment from the old 40 foot Bouvet container to the new 20 foot container. There will be lots of counting, testing, re-packing, and customs documentation to do.
After we finish, we continue on to Dayton and hope to meet many of you there.
We plan to have the container packed and on a railcar headed for a container ship by June 1. It has to be in New Zealand by August 1.
Our 6-meter EME gear is tested, locked, and loaded. Look for a future website page detailing moon data and other information to help you make that coveted 6 meter EME QSO with Pitcairn Island Another first for you and for us.
April 13, 2019: Cardboard boxes can be the curse of a DXpedition. The boxes are typically bulky, easily torn or damaged, and if they get wet they are a useless sloppy commodity. Jerry, WB9Z, and his nephew just completed construction on 9 plywood boxes in which to ship of ACOM 1500 amplifiers. There are strict import restrictions on wood, so the boxes had to be entirely constructed of plywood.
These boxes will go into our 20 foot sea container during our inventorying, testing, documenting, packing, and blocking container party from May 10th through the 13th in Peoria, IL.
The container should be on its way the New Zealand by June 1.
Mar. 28, 2019: During the last two days, Mike – W0VTT (left and right), and Hal – W8HC (below), have been hard at work in Peoria, pulling EME equipment out of the Bouvet container, assembling it, testing it, and making it ready for 6 meter EME. Their work has paid off; they have a functioning 6 meter EME system.
Mar. 20, 2019: The die is cast. We have crossed the Rubicon and are beyond the point of no return. Each team member has deposited approximately 50% of their total financial commitment, we have paid our initial deposit to the shipping company, and our contract with the Braveheart is signed.
To those of you who have already supported us, thank you very much. Your support was key in allowing us to meet our financial obligations so far. Our next major outlay will be expenses relating to purchasing a 20 ft. sea container and paying the customs and freight fees to ship it to New Zealand by June 1.
Tell your friends about us. We’d love their support. And, we’d enjoy having them join us in having some fun.
Feb. 18, 2019: We’ve gotten more serious about our fundraising lately since, financially, we’re a bit behing where we had hoped to be. We recently sent out some requests to clubs, asking them to consider supporting us. Perhaps your club received one. If so, we hope you’ll encourage your fellow members to personally review our application.
Pitcairn is not super rare, we understand that. But hopefully we can reward you with a new achievement by adding some new band-modes, and especially low band digital QSO’s to your log.
Your help would be great, but we’ll do this no matter what. Work us. Let’s have some fun!
Jan. 26, 2019: We’ve had another team change. Due to circumstances beyond his control, Lou – N2TU, had to drop out.
Mike, K9NW, will be joing our team. Mike is a well-known DXpeditioner and we welcome him to the team.
Jan. 21, 2019: On January 23, 1790, the HMS Bounty was lit on fire. The ship had arrived eight days earlier and after the mutneers and their fellow travelers removed provisions and other usable items from the vessel, she was set ablaze and sank in the waters of Bounty Bay after burning to the waterline. With the vessel gone there was no escape and the risk of detection minimized. A new society was born on Pitcairn Island.
229 years and 267 days later our DXpedition team will arrive on Pitcairn Island and meet the descendants of those who arrived on the Bounty. Our goal is to contact as many of our amatuer radio friends as possible and put their calls in our log.
Support us if you can. Above all, give us a call when you hear us and LET’S ALL HAVE SOME FUN!
Jan. 19, 2019: With 14 team members involved and over the course of a year, it was likely that a member may have to change his plans. This has occurred, AA7A – Ned, had to withdraw from the team. We will miss him.
N9TK – Jim will be filling that slot. Jim was with us on the Bouvet trip, has been on many prior DXpeditions, and is a great team member and operator. We welcome him to the team.
Posted Jan. 10, 2019: Key dates of Pitcairn Island DXpedition have been established. See below.
Aug.1, 2019 — Our sea container, with all our equipment, must be landed in New Zealand, cleared by customs, and ready to transport to the Braveheart for loading of the container contents. The Braveheart will sail within a few days.
Oct. 7, 2019 — The Braveheart will arrive in Moorea after completing the charter prior to ours After provisioning and refueling, the Braveheart will sail to Mangareva, arriving there on Oct. 13.
Oct. 15, 2019 — Our team will fly from Tahiti to Mangareva, board the Braveheart and sail for Pitcairn that evening.
Oct. 17, 2019 — We will be at Pitcairn Island at dawn and begin offloading our equipment as soon as possible. The Braveheart will depart that evening.
Oct. 18, 2019: We will get stations on the air as soon as possible. We have 14 days at the island.
Our first payment to the ship is due in 60 days. Thank you for the support you have given us.
Dec. 10, 2018: Six of us spent last weekend in Peoria, IL doing preliminary staging of our DXpedition equipment. This involved unloading the ill-fated Bouvet DXpedition sea container; sorting items for disposal, sale, or use on Pitcairn; and then re-loading the items we will take to Pitcairn Island. Those of us participating in the exercise were N4GRN, K9CT, W0GJ, N9TK, W8HC, and K0IR.
We will return just after the Dayton Hamvention to inventory our equipment, double check it, and then repack it in a smaller, 20 ft. sea container. The container will be shipped to New Zealand in June so its contents can be put aboard the RV Braveheart in early August. The gear will come ashore with us on Pitcairn in October. See the photos below.
Our DXpedition dates are looking more and more like the last two weeks of October of 2019.
Nov. 8, 2018: It’s getting busy, as it always does in DXpedition planning. The foundation of the website is in place and our Facebook and Twitter outlets are up and running. We are waiting to get our exact sailing dates from Mangareva so we can schedule our air travel. Our budget is coming together as is our operational plan.
It appears we can incorporate EME into our operation and we have begun to plan accordingly. 60 meters is also on the agenda and we are committed to DXpedition mode FT8 operation.
Hopefully next month several us will meet to begin equipment sorting and staging for container shipment.
WOW! Some of you have already sent us a contribution and the Long Island DX Association has become the first club to support us. Thank you, thank you.
Again, LETS HAVE SOME FUN WITH THIS!