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Crozet Island DXpedition Preparations are Moving Forward

02/24/2022

The upcoming solo Crozet Island DXpedition spearheaded by Thierry Mazel, F6CUK, will likely arrive on the island around Christmas. While traveling aboard the Marion Dufresne, Mazel will make stopovers at other remote islands that are also rare DXCC entities, including Tromelin Island. The Crozet and Tromelin islands are administered as part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (abbreviated in French as TAAF).

“After the permission granted by the TAAF and the DXpedition announcement, [the] time has come to gather the equipment and move forward with the preparations,” Mazel said. “The Marion Dufresne will leave Réunion Island on December 8, with a stopover at Tromelin to resupply the people there, then head for Crozet.”

Mazel expects to spend a solid 3 months operating from the Alfred-Faure base on Crozet. The Marion Dufresne will return on March 26, 2023, after stopovers at the Kerguelen Islands and Amsterdam, arriving at Réunion Island on April 16, 2023. He said dates may vary depending upon weather conditions.

His first task upon arrival will be to erect antennas and set up his station, for which he’ll need to enlist help from others. He’ll also have to contend with the weather, as Crozet is subject to strong winds.

No call sign has been issued at this point, although Mazel has requested one that will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the first amateur operation from Crozet in 1961 and 1962. To head off problems with pirates, the call sign won’t be released until after Mazel has arrived on Crozet, and just hours before he begins operation. Paul Granger, F6EXV, and Jean-Michel Duthilleul, F6AJA, will spread the word once that happens. Mazel had hoped to use an Elecraft K3 transceiver, but will use a pair of Kenwood TS-590 transceivers instead. He’s settled on 500 W ACOM 1010 tube amplifiers.

“I have asked the TAAF [for] permission to send part of the equipment with the previous ship supply mission leaving in November,” Mazel said. “It sometimes happens that, because of the weather during landing, not everything can be brought to the island. Imagine being on the island without a station!”

Mazel said much remains to be done, including finalizing antenna designs, securing winter clothing, and organizing scheduled contacts with school children via the QO-100 geostationary satellite.

“Crozet will be an ATNO [All-Time New One] for many, and you can’t afford missing it, as nobody knows when the next ham operation will take place from this #3 most-needed,” Mazel said in urging contributions to the DXpedition effort.

The last ham radio activity from Crozet was in 2009 by Florentin Bard, F4DYW, who operated as FT5WQ. The 2022 – 2023 solo DXpedition is anticipated to cost upward of $60,000.

For additional information, visit the Crozet Island DXpedition website.



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