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Stormy Weather May Force Retreat of Mellish Reef VK9MT DXpedition Team


Update from VK9MT:

The VK9MT DXpedition ended operations at 0330 UTC on April 4.

'Due to the ever-worsening weather associated with an impending tropical storm, the team decided in the interest of safety to end the operation early.

The last night on the island was extremely difficult. With continued heavy rain and wind, radio operations were nearly impossible. We have set sail for the Australian coast and seek a course to keep ahead of the storm that caused us to leave the reef.

Team Mellish 2014

Deteriorating weather and high winds could force the Mellish Reef VK9MT DXpedition team from the Pacific Atoll to the Evohe, the ship that transported them from Australia a week earlier. The operation may have to be abandoned altogether, if the poor weather persists. The DXpedition began operations on March 29 and had planned to remain on Mellish Reef until April 9.

“The weather continues to change,” a team update reported April 3. “Last night there were torrential downpours and high winds.” The DXpedition said that antennas survived with no damage, but the operators have removed nonessential equipment and several antennas, including the just-erected 160 meter antenna. While water flowed into the “break tent” through an open window, the operating tents were dry, and no equipment was damaged.

“Tomorrow morning we will remove all remaining equipment from the island and head towards Australia,” the team said, adding that its immediate destination would depend upon the winds and sea conditions, although the ship eventually would return to its home port of Mackay, Australia. “Even if the storm subsides, it is unlikely we will have enough time to return to the island.”

Early on April 3, the team reported it was keeping an eye on a tropical depression north of Mellish Reef and made contingency plans to shut down and abandon the reef, at least temporarily. “The safety of the DXpedition team and the crew is the first priority,” the team said.

The operators were requesting that only those needing Mellish Reef for an all-time new one call. To that end VK9MT intended to focus its attention on bands that drive the highest rates. As of 1400 UTC, VK9MT appeared to be concentrating on 12, 15, 17, and 20 meters. Last activated in 2009, Mellish Reef is number 22 on ClubLog’s most recent mixed-mode DXCC Most Wanted List. -- Thanks to The Daily DX, DX Summit




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