Please write the name and Call.
TCDXA member Ralph Fedor, KØIR just informed the GrayLine that he has a permit, team and transportation in place to conduct a DXpedition to Amsterdam Island during January and February of 2014.
Ralph has been working on a Southern Indian Ocean DXpedition for over four years. Heard Island, Crozet, and Amsterdam-St. Paul have all been in his sights.
When another group made a commitment to the DX community to put Heard Island on the air early next year, Ralph decided to focus on Amsterdam Island.
Amsterdam Island is under the administration of TAAF, the Terres Australes et Antarctiques Francaises, which controls access to the islands in the French Antarctic Territories. Access is strictly controlled, and permission to land on the island is subject to the use of an environmentally-acceptable vessel, the ability to land in difficult sea conditions, self-sufficiency and a sound environmental plan.
After reviewing Ralph’s team credentials and planning documents, TAAF issued a permit to land and conduct a DXpedition from Amsterdam Island for up to 18 days between the dates of January 15 and February 20 of 2014. Landing, setup and take down are included in those 18 days.
The Braveheart, a well-known and experienced DXpedition vessel, will board the team in Fremantle, Australia in
early January of 2014. It will be a 3,800 nautical mile round trip in the rough “roaring 40s” of the southern hemisphere. The total time at sea will likely be 16 to 18 days in the 128-foot Braveheart.
When asked about his team, Ralph related that they represent the best of all the team members he has worked within his 20+ years of DXpeditioning. They are first of all good people, who stay calm in stressful situations, are team players who watch each other’s backs, are tolerant of others and who put the team and the outcome of the DXpedition above their own ambitions and self-promotion. Secondly, they also happen Amsterdam Island DXpedition January – February, 2014
© SQ8Xto be good operators. KØIR’s team members are: James – 9V1YC; Nodir – EY8MM; Michel – FM5CD; Jorge – HK1R; Bob – K4UEE; Craig – K9CT; Erling – LA6VM; George – N4GRN; Arnie – N6HC; John – VE3EJ; Steve – VE7CT; Gregg – W6IZT; and Jerry – WB9Z.
TAAF has assigned the group two operating sites on Amsterdam Island, just over a mile apart. While this insures good separation, it does complicate things somewhat, since travel between the two sites is too hazardous to attempt at night. There should be ample room for a full complement of antennas at each site.
When we asked Ralph about costs, he told us the budget for this project is just over $400,000. Transportation makes up the majority of those costs, followed by per diem anchorage and usage fees imposed by TAAF. Surprisingly, the costs of doing Heard, Crozet, and Amsterdam are all very similar. Heard is the least expensive, followed by Amsterdam, and then Crozet.
The trip requires a large financial commitment from each team member. The minimum team member contribution is $10,000. Travel to and from Fremantle, Australia will cost each team member another $2,000 to $3,000. In addition, there are the six weeks away from home and family, a very long boat ride and the physical and financial risks inherent to a DX pedition of this magnitude.
Ralph said he was heartened by an extremely generous grant from INDEXA. Within hours of receiving the group’s request for funds, INDEXA offered their support, and shortly thereafter, NCDXF followed up with a large grant.
He stated that the completion of this project will depend upon the support of clubs and foundations worldwide; but even more on the support of individual DXers. Ralph stated, “We simply cannot do this without help from the DX community. We need to raise about a quarter of a million dollars. And, it has to be international financial support – we need our DX friends from Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and Oceania to help us on this one. We have down payments to make and equipment to purchase before setting sail. So, we need the help right away.” The group’s website will assist you in supporting them. The Amsterdam DXpedition website will be announced and go live, shortly.
The group plans to have eight stations on the air from 160 through 10m, with SSB and CW/RTTY running concurrently on all open bands. Elecraft K3s, DX Engineering antennas and components and 500- to 1500-watt amplifiers will make up the backbone of the stations. There will be low band receive antennas, and every attention will be given to propagation on all bands and to all population areas.
We asked Ralph about his dreams and objectives for this DXpedition. He responded, “We have a lot of work to do in the next nine months. Everyone can follow that progress on our website. What I most want is to give the DX world as much fun and enjoyment as I possibly can. I want every DXer to feel that he or she is a part owner of this adventure.
Whether it is a new country for you, a new band-mode, or the thrill of a rare DX contact, I think I have a team with the talent and dedication to make that happen for you.”