The team was very busy "behind the scene" for the last weeks and the following things changed or happened:
First off all we have some very good news for you. We agreed to extend the duration of the expedition, grabbing even deeper into our pockets. As planned earlier, we will depart from Gambier Island onboard Braveheart on Tuesday February 5th 2008 around 1500 local time. In normal weather conditions, the voyage to Pitcairn will take about 36 hours. On Pitcairn we will do the immigration procedure and spend some hours there. Pitcairn - Ducie is another 36 hours and we will adjust our arrival time that we arrive at Ducie at dawn on the 9th of February. There is only one landing spot available in the north-east corner of the atoll. We all would ask you to keep your fingers crossed so that a landing will be possible. Weather can easily delay landing ... Best possible guess is that we need 24 hours to put everything up ...
We have to be back in Mangareva, Gambier Islands on Monday March 3rd, so based on the information given above you can easily do the math what the latest departure date from Ducie would be. If things are getting too slow at the end of the expedition or someone of the team gets too bored there might be the possibility to visit ‘another uninhabited island’ in the area – but absolutely no promise made here .... So if weather permits, you can expect to hear some VP6 signals for as long as 19 days ...
Unfortunately Pertti, OH2PM and Krassy, K1LZ can not make it this time but we added some more operators since we went public in Dayton and the list as of today includes: DJ8NK, DL3DXX, DL6LAU, DL8LAS, K3NA, OH2BH, SP3DOI, SP5XVY, UA3AB and WA6CDR. So there are still 3 more calls to be announced very soon.
But the operating team can only be as good as the guys doing a lot of things behind the scenes at home and we are very thankful to have JA1BK as our advisor in the team – thank you so much Kan! DF6QV, DJ2YA and OH1JT form our Antenna Engineering Team, DL1MGB is our webmaster, GU4YOX is the Electrical Team Manager and VP6MW is the liaison on Pitcairn – more to be announced very soon too.
We decided early to take the radio with us that will be possibly the best radio for this kind of operation and we are very thankful that Elecraft will supply us with 7 of their new K3 transceivers. One ACOM 2000A (to be used on 160m) and 6 or 7 ACOM 1000/1010 from ACOM will round up the transmitting side.
As you will easily see, we are serious ... 160m will have two phased verticals pointing towards Europe (and the US), we will use one vertical for the other areas. 80m will have two 4-Squares (and the needed filters at the station) so you can expect to hear us simultaneously on SSB and CW. 40 and 30m also will have 4-Squares while 20-10m will have phased vertical dipoles.
Donations prior to departure are very important for us because basically all of the expenses have to be paid way before we actually depart and the team members already paid what I would call a more than adequate share.
We are deeply grateful to the German DX Foundation (GDXF), Danish DX Group (DDXG), Clipperton DX Club (CDXC), Chiltern DX Club (CDXC), European DX Foundation (EuDXF), UK Six Metre Group (UKSMG) and the Central Virginia Contest Club (CVCC) for the donations or donation promises received.
A big thank you also goes to the following individuals who already send in a donation: K9CT, W2RI, DJ0QN, G4DYO, K7HC, N6OX, K6IPV, DK5WL, DL2OE, K7EIE, DL3JJ, N9RS, JF7RJM, DL7ZZ and VK4OQ.
With a total budget of more than US$ 200.000,- we would kindly ask you to check, if you could help too. Details on how you can help can be found in the ‘How To Help’ section.
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During the next weeks we will be busy to prepare the container shipment with radios, amplifiers, antennas, generators and the like.
73sss in behalf of the VP6DX team
Carsten, DL6LAU - Teamleader