Home :: News :: News #8 - 2008 Jan 23
Highlights:

... WA6CDR arrives in New Zealand ...
... Braveheart departs for Mangareva ...
... Background information:
... costs and cash flow ...
... donors of US$100 or more, received by Feb 5, to be honored on QSL card ...

1. Recent events:

The "planning" phase has finally ended! The expedition is underway!

Last week on Sunday Eric WA6HHQ of Elecraft Radio flew from Aptos to Long Beach California in his Cessna, along with the K3 radios to be used on VP6DX.

K3 delivery #1 K3 delivery #2
K3 delivery #3

Robin WA6CDR met Eric at Long Beach for the hand-off. A new customs carnet for the radios and a few other items was prepared and stamped by Homeland Security during the next few days. Robin flew from Los Angeles via the Cook Islands to Auckland New Zealand Thursday night with these items. Over the weekend Robin met with the crew and master of the "Braveheart" to inventory all loaded equipment and acquire locally the last items (e.g., beverage antenna supports). All the air and sea freight shipments from the USA and Germany of the last two months were delivered to the "Braveheart" on time, and the ship was ready to set sail.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans: a typhoon passing through the region. Good planning includes contingency planning. The "Braveheart" crew had built contingency time into their travel schedule to Mangareva, French Polynesia. The extra day's delay in departing New Zealand should not cause any trouble: the "Braveheart" will arrive at Mangareva around Feb 1 or 2, several days before the remainder of the operating team.

The ship is stuffed full of DXpedition equipment! Diesel fuel burned during the transit to Mangareva will be drawn off fuel bladders on the deck, freeing up some space. We will be cramped for space when the remaining 12 operators join the crew!

Photos are on the website, check http://ducie2008.dl1mgb.com/pictures/index.php?imgdir=Preparation

2. Costs, cash flow and donors:

The background topic for today's news release is cash. Many expeditions, including this one, ask the DX community for financial assistance. Ducie Island, a remote and uninhabited location which can only be reached by sea, certainly involves greater expenses. But how much greater?

The costs (US$ at current exchange rates) for equipping and executing the VP6DX expedition total about $330,000:

  • $155,000 -- Sea transportation to/from Ducie Island, and costs for operating the ship while we are on the island (29 days), food, use of shelter & some generators.
  • $140,000 -- hardware: radios, amplifiers, antennas, computers, spares, etc.
  • $23,000 -- shipping, insurance

  • $10,000 -- gasoline, diesel, fuel containers, consumable items.

These costs do not include air transport and lodging for the operators; each operator pays his own way to/from Mangareva Atoll, French Polynesia.

Almost all of the costs ($305,000 to date) must be paid or committed before we arrive at the island. So where does the cash come from?

  • $83,000 -- operator donations
  • $55,000 -- loaned/donated hardware
  • $30,000 -- clubs and organization donations to date
  • $12,000 -- individual donations to date
  • $125,000 -- debt (interest-free loans)

The last figure is the scary one! This is sunk cash, spent or obligated before the first QSO is made, which the funders expect to be returned. About $90k is tied up in hardware which we hope to use on future expeditions. And we are budgeting another $25k of expenses after departing the island for shipping, refurbishment, QSLing expenses, etc.

With this much money at risk for a major expedition, the pressure is on us to meet not only the on-the-air expectations of DXers worldwide, but also to work to raise the remaining cash.

Please consider supporting the VP6DX project with a donation. If you choose to support the VP6DX project financially with a donation, we promise:

  • to do our best to deliver a first-rate, high quality expedition: to work DXers efficiently, with balance given to each region of the world, to each mode, and to each band.
  • to use your money wisely, to account for it transparently and according to professional standards, and to report back to you as to how it was used.
  • to give priority to your QSL requests and LOTW confirmations.

Because of the importance of "early cash" in reducing debt, donations of US$100 or more received prior to Feb 5 (our departure from Mangareva Atoll to Ducie Island) will be listed on the QSL card.

Donations can be made as follows:

  • PayPal (in either US$ or Euro) on the VP6DX website here:
  • http://ducie2008.dl1mgb.com/howtohelp/paypal/index.php

  • check (US$) mailed to

  • K3NA
    Eric Scace
    Radio Expeditions LLC
    13 Harvard St #3
    Charlestown, MA 02129, USA

  • USA donors over $100 may make a directed gift to the Northern California DX Foundation, designated for the VP6DX project, and receive a 501(c)3 tax credit. Send these gifts to

  • W6OSP
    Bruce Butler
    4220 Chardonnay Court
    Napa, CA 94558

We would be delighted if DX editors would publish this information bulletin as widely as possible and DXers bring it to the attention of their clubs and fellow DXers.

Thank you for your support. See you on the air real soon!