Amsterdam Island FT5ZM DXpedition Making a Big Splash
The 14-member Amsterdam Island FT5ZM DXpedition team made its first contacts on 10 meter phone and on 17 meter CW on January 26 — a day later than anticipated. Now fully underway from two camps on the small South Indian Ocean island outpost, the FT5ZM operators have been attacking gigantic pileups that spread across 10 or 15 kHz of spectrum. Despite the imprecations of the self-appointed “DX police,” many stations continue to call FT5ZM on its transmitting frequency instead of up the band where the operator is listening. As do most DXpeditions, FT5ZM uses split-frequency operation.
The kickoff to this approximately $450,000 venture to provide a rare DXCC entity to eager DXers around the globe came in the wake of a difficult sea voyage and dozens of trips from the vessel via Zodiac to the island to get the gear ashore. In comments posted to the FT5ZM website on January 24, team member Jerry Rosalius, WB9Z, related some the difficulties involved with getting everything up and running from two sites.
“The terrain is very rough for walking and putting up antennas,” he said. “We’re talking up to 2 feet of dead grass on top of lava rock. This is one of the (if not the) roughest DXpeditions [I’ve] ever been on. The entire team is exhausted after a very long day. All generators are in place, but there is still so much to be done.”
The FT5ZM DXpedition appears to put putting in a good signal to all areas of the world as it follows propagation from band to band, handing out the new one at a rapid rate. The team, headed by Ralph Fedor, K0IR, has stressed that it will not be able to receive e-mails during the DXpedition and that pilot stations do not have log or QSO information.
“The only channel to pass your remarks and suggestions to the team is to contact one of our pilot operators assigned to your area,” the FT5ZM team posted to its website January 27. “Reports of incorrect or missing calls in the log will be ignored during the DXpedition. Please do not contact the Pilot Station about a busted call or if your call is missing from the online log. Keep a record of your QSO details and contact the QSL manager after the DXpedition. Alternately, work FT5ZM again.” The DXpedition is not accepting sked requests, and station operators also have been requested not to e-mail any of the off-site members of the team.
The FT5ZM DXpedition has a Facebook page. Stations also can follow the DXpeditions activities via Twitter or RSS feed. The DXpedition has allocated 18 days “to set up, conduct the DXpedition, and tear down for departure.”
Amsterdam Island was discovered in 1522 by the Spanish. The UN Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) maintains a presence on the island. Amsterdam Island is under the administration of Terres Australes et Antarctiques Francaises (TAAF), which controls access to the islands in the French Antarctic Territories.