Pitcairn Island VP6R DXpedition on the Air; Injured Operator Evacuated
From ARRL de WD1CKS@WLARB to QST on Monday, October 21, 2019 22:10:46
Pitcairn Island DXpedition leader Glen Johnson, W0GJ, reports the VP6R team arrived at the South Pacific island on October 17, after the m/v Braveheart anchored offshore. After clearing customs and immigration, the team was transported to the home of Andy Christian, where the DXpedition's equipment had been shipped well in advance.
"The steep dirt roads were very muddy from lots of recent rains, and had our equipment not been prepositioned, we would have been delayed by several days getting all stations on the air," Johnson said.
The team is down to 12 operators after one individual fell and suffered several fractures. He was put aboard a supply ship and will be evacuated to Mangareva and on to Papeete. "Naturally we are all disappointed with this situation," Johnson said. "DXpeditions to remote places are not without risk, and medical care is quite limited at best." The injured operator was not identified.
Johnson reports that by the end of the first day, the team had erected antennas and put four stations on the air from Christian's house. In the morning everyone moved to the old radio site to set up more antennas and stations at what will be VP6R's primary low-band site. "The DX Engineering 160-meter falling derrick vertical is almost full-size and generated huge pileups that night, with 700 stations in the log!" Johnson enthused. Everything else was set up by Saturday, and the DXpedition team settled into its operating routine.
"Pitcairn has power from 8 AM until 10 PM," Johnson explained. "After 10 PM, we switch to generators until morning. The Radio Site is 100% generator powered."
By the end of the UTC day Sunday, VP6R had logged more than 16,000 contacts, including several 6-meter moonbounce contacts.
The weather has cooperated with pleasant temperatures, Johnson said. "When it rains, which is often, the dirt roads become 'the world's friendliest mud,' as the residents call it, making travel between the two sites somewhat treacherous." VP6R will be on 20 meters around the clock, often with more than one mode, with the goal of giving Pitcairn Island as a new one to everyone. VP6R will be on the air on all bands during the CQ World Wide DX phone event, October 25 - 26.
The VP6R team has reported that's it's experiencing some timing issues with FT8, which is being used in Fox & Hound mode. "With good conditions, at times we have been able to sustain nearly 400 Qs/hour, working five stations simultaneously." Johnson said. VP6R said on its website that anyone in doubt of their contact should work the DXpedition again.
The VP6R logs are periodically uploaded to Club Log.