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ARRL DX Bulletin ARLD006 (1997)

ARLD006 VK0IR breaks record

DX Bulletin 6  ARLD006
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  January 29, 1997
To all radio amateurs

ARLD006 VK0IR breaks record

The VK0IR Heard Island DXpedition is one for the record books. The
DXpedition team left Heard island Wednesday, January 29, after
racking up more than 80,000 contacts--a new DXpedition record. The
VK0IR team was scheduled to leave Heard Island on January 31, but
rough weather and high winds (combined with bone-chilling cold)
forced an early shutdown. VK0IR hit the bands running on January 14
and didn't stop until January 27--a few days before the DXpedition's
scheduled end. The result was excitement on a level rarely seen
among the Amateur Radio ranks. Most of the stations worked were in
Europe, the Eastern US and Japan. With 80,673 contacts in its
logbooks, the widely heralded Heard Island DXpedition appears to
have topped the previous record, held by the 1992 4J1FS DXpedition,
which racked up nearly 74,500 QSOs in 15 days. (The ZA1A and 3Y0PI
DXpeditions tallied 69,500 and 60,000 contacts, respectively.)

On its final weekend, the team began to dismantle some antennas
prior to going QRT. A special effort to give the ''small pistols'' a
chance at putting Heard Island into their logs took a back seat to
operator safety and equipment security, as the team awaited the
arrival of the ship on January 28. Even so, many US operators with
very modest stations enjoyed success. One East Coast station
reported working VK0IR on 20 meters with just 4.5 W output. The
effort might be considered all the more remarkable because it took
place during the sunspot minimum.

The Heard Island DXpedition was reputedly the largest, most well
organized and--with a budget of some 320,000 dollars--the most
expensive DXpedition ever. Last fall, the ARRL Colvin Award Grants
Committee authorized a grant of 5000 dollars for the Heard Island

In a sense, the Internet--often thought of as ''competition'' for
ham radio--has been the medium that helped establish a sense of
cohesion and community during the VK0IR operation. The DXpedition
has heavily employed the Internet to promote the DXpedition and to
spread the latest word from Heard--a territory of Australia located
in the South Indian Ocean. The DXpedition's 'net presence also
offered an opportunity for hams to get a blow-by-blow account of the
DXpedition and to post their comments, success stories and gripes.
News and pictures of the operation continue to appear in The Heard
Island Tribune, edited on-line by Don Greenbaum, N1DG, another of
the DXpedition pilots. John Devoldere, ON4UN, moderated the
reflector and issued daily postings about the individual operators,
changes in frequencies and tips on operating behavior, while the
VK0IR home page offered additional general information. Those who
worked VK0IR (or thought they had) have used the VK0IR home page to
check the DXpedition's logs, which were forwarded via pacsat to
servers in the US and in Europe.

An e-mail note received here at HQ from Jon Jones, N0JK, of Wichita,
Kansas, summed up the feelings of many grateful operators: ''Thanks
to the Heard ops, pilot stations, ON4UN and all the other
behind-the-scenes support cast for bringing the magic back to
Amateur Radio.''

The DXpedition team does plan a brief (one-night) stop at Kerguelen
Island on its return trip. It is not certain that any radio
operation will take place from Kerguelen, but if it does, Devoldere
says it likely will be on the low bands only, and mostly--if not
exclusively--on CW.

The QSL address for the VK0IR and the preceding TO0R operation from
Reunion Island is INDEXA, c/o W4FRU, Box 5127, Suffolk, VA 23435.
QSLs for VK0IR and TO0R should be mailed separately to avoid delays.
For more information, check the Heard Island home page at


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