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Bouvet 3Y0Z DXpedition Putting Up Big Bucks for Transportation, Eager to Get Under Way


The 3Y0Z Bouvet Island DXpedition team reports that it has reached “yet another milestone” in its quest to activate Bouvet Island, the second most-wanted DXCC entity (behind the Democratic Republic of North Korea), in January and February. The DXpedition team has said its earliest anticipated arrival date on Bouvet will be January 23. It hopes to spend 14 to 16 days on Bouvet, “depending on weather and other factors,” the team said in July. Bouvet has not been activated for about a decade.

“DAP, the Chilean company that owns and operates the M/V Betanzos and the helicopters, has satisfied the last contractual requirements, prior to departure. We submitted to them a ‘fit for purpose’ checklist with 120 items as part of our contract,” the DXpedition team said in a December 29 news release. “They have satisfied all the checklist items, and we will be transferring almost one-half million US dollars to them in the next few days.” The transportation cost points up the extraordinary expense of mounting a DXpedition such as this; the team continues to invite contributions to defray its significant cost.

The 3Y0Z team, which consists of 20 highly experienced radio amateurs, said it’s on schedule for a January 13 departure to Bouvet Island, “the most remote island on Earth.” A dependency of Norway, Bouvet is a subantarctic island in the South Atlantic.

Team members will gather in Punta Arenas, Chile, by January 10, attend a marine safety course, purchase last-minute supplies, and then fly across the Drake Passage to King George Island in the South Shetlands, where they will board the newly refurbished Betanzos for an approximately 10-day voyage to Bouvet.

“The team feels confident knowing that the ship’s captain and many of the crew have been with the vessel for 8 years and have extensive Southern Ocean experience. The captain reports he has previously been to Bouvet,” the team said in its news release. “Sea ice has been reported along a direct route to Bouvet, and that may dictate we take a more northerly course, before turning east to approach Bouvet. That may add day or two to our transit time.”

Meanwhile, the two helicopters that will transport the team and gear to and from Bouvet have completed inspections and are ready for service. “There has been a thorough review of landing procedures and shelter and antenna layouts. We have three alternative anchoring systems to secure the shelters and antennas to the ice on the surface of Bouvet. So, the plan remains unchanged.”

3Y0Z anticipates having two stations on every open band “whenever humanly possible,” as well as gain and directional antennas where possible, high-power stations, “and a propagation-driven operation.” Primary modes will be CW, SSB, and RTTY. FT8 will be utilized if it is the only productive mode.

The Bouvet team advises that anyone hoping to work 3Y0Z using FT8 read the 3Y0Z FT8 protocol on the Band Plan page of the DXpedition website. The website includes complete information on band plans and frequencies, propagation predictions, and QSL procedures.

The 3Y0Z team leaders are Bob Allphin, K4UEE; Ralph Fedor, K0IR, and Erling Wiig, LA6VM. Among them, the Bouvet DXpedition leaders hold 11 DXpedition of the Year awards and have activated a dozen Top 10 DXCC entities.

In August, the Northern California DX Foundation (NCDXF) announced its largest contribution ever — $100,000 — to the 3Y0Z Bouvet Island DXpedition. The ARRL has granted a Colvin Award to help support the DXpedition to the second most-wanted DXCC entity.