Update October 18: Regarding the 6m EME operation: The VP6R crew is continuing to build antennas and set up the station. They are still planning on being QRV for their first moonrise at 0446Z Sunday October 20 GMT (their local Saturday night). They HOPE to set up the 6m yagi this afternoon and the station tonight, but they also are heavily involved in helping set up HF antennas. If they are able to be QRV sooner than Sunday GMT moonrise, I will send out another update. GL and VY 73, Lance, W7GJ
Update October 18: 0145Z – VP6R is QRV
Update October 16: They are approaching Pitcairn Island
Update October 14: VP6R team at Papeete airport. Next stop Mangerva island.
Update October 14: Team now arrived Tahiti, French Polynesia. Track them
Update October 10: 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 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
Update October 6: 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.
We have added Lance, W7GJ, to our off island team. He will be our EME pilot, helping to maximize our effectiveness on 6 meter EME.
We have also formalized our FT8 protocol. You can find the details on the "How to Work VP6R" page. Read and study them carefully. We also suggest you use the link on this page to read "The FT8 DXpedition User Guide" by Joe Taylor, K1JT.
Update September 24: The CQWW SSB Contest will have a first ever entry from Pitcairn Island on the weekend of Oct. 26th and 27th. A contest contact with VP6R will reward you with a zone 32 multiplier AND a VP6 multiplier. This will be an all band multi-multi effort, 160 through 10 meters. That’s 12 possible multipliers.
If you are not in the contest and need a QSO with us, just give us a call with a signal report and your CQ zone in the exchange. We want everyone in our log! Then have some fun and work a few other stations.
Update September 18: After a complicated paperwork VP6R has been granted permission and it is looking forward to operate on the 60m band. [Tnx 60m newsletter]
Update September 10: by Ralph K0IR: The Braveheart called on Pitcairn on schedule on Sept. 6. All our DXpedition gear was unloaded and taken ashore by the Pitcairn Island longboats. Generators, fuel, antennas and masts, Flex radios, ACOM amps, the DX Engineering 160 vertical, Yagis — everything. It’s all there, stored safe and dry in the engineering building. When the roads dry out, all our gear will be moved to our operating sites and be ready for us when we arrive in October. This process will save us 150 to 200 man hours of installation time and get us on the air much faster.
Update August 14: From VP6R site. 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!
Update August 5: I had to cancel my participation in the upcoming VP6 DXpedition. I would have been the only 2m EME operator (and was bringing my own equipment). The VP6 6m operation is still scheduled in this DXpedition but not 2m EME.
I will get back to operating portable EME and EME DXpeditions at a later time.
73 and regards, Ned / AA7A
Update July 18: It happened once again. Unexpected business and time demands pop-up in all our lives.
Jim, N9TK has had to withdraw from our team. Jim has contributed a great deal to make this DXpedition happen and we will miss him.
Hawk, SM5ADQ will be 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!
Update June 6: 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 6th. This should allow an ample safety margin for any unforeseen delays.
Update May, 25: 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. [more pics here]
Update May, 15: Nine of the VP6R team had a very productive last weekend in Peoria, Illinois. You can read about their progress and view some images here. The next time the team lay hands on this gear will be when they off-load it from the Braveheart and take it ashore on Pitcairn Island.
Update May, 12: The following was posted on the VP6R Web page May 5th: "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 21st 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 represent 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"
Update May, 6: Ralph Fedor, K0IR, reports : We have lots of things going on. The DXpedition planning and staging is ramping up. But first ------ here's our DXpedition logo, hot off the press. Stay tuned for more news.
Update Apr, 25: 6m EME operation on 21-27 Oct 2019. Hope to be active for our moonrise at 0924z on 21 Oct
POWER: 1500w output!
ANTENNA: Single 6M8GJ Yagi WITH ELEVATION!!!
MODE: JT65a with VP6R always transmitting FIRST SEQUENCE
FREQUENCY: 50.200 MHz with 1271 Hz offset (DF=0 on JT65a from WJST10)
PROCEDURE: W7GJ EME DXpedition protocol
More information will be coming on their dedicated webpage.
Update Mar,13: Callsign VP6R confirmed
Update Jan,11: Dates have been established by the Pitcairn team: 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 refuelling, 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.
Update Dec,20_ EME operators: AA7A & K9CT 6m station: W7GJ 8 element with AZ/EL and KW 2m station: 4 times 9X9 XPol and KW Callsign not issued. More details to follow.
Update Dec,12_ 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. Our DXpedition dates are looking more and more like the last two weeks of October of 2019.
Update Nov,10_ Info from Lance, W7GH: "I just heard the GREAT NEWS that K9CT and AA7A will be operating EME on both 2m and 6m during the Pitcairn Island next October ;-) So you have an entire year to get your stations tuned up for them! We will be hearing more information in the coming months."
A group of 14 operators will activate Pitcairn Island in October of 2019. This will be a two-week, all band, all mode operation with transportation to and from the island provided by the RV Braveheart. The operator list includes: AA7A, EY8MM, JR4OZR, K0IR, K0PC, K9CT, N2TU, N4GRN, N6HC, W0GJ, W0VTT, W6IZT, W8HC and WB9Z. The DXpedition website is under construction and will be active soon with more details.