Did you know that Bouvet Island is a Parks On The Air (POTA) entity?
I didn’t know this until my buddy Eric (WD8RIF) pointed it out.
Bouvet Nature Reserve (LA-2524)
Here’s the entry for Bouvet Nature Reserve (LA-2524) on the POTA website. It’s possible you might have even seen LA-2524 spotted recently on POTA.app.
I suppose the Bouvet Island DXpedition team (3Y0J) are all POTA activators whether they know it or not!
I also assume the 3Y0J team would need to create an account and submit their logs to the POTA system for LA-2524 hunters to get credit.
It would be pretty amazing to confirm LA-2524 because it’s doubtful anyone will activate Bouvet Island anytime soon after this current DXpedition team.
Bouvet Island is one of the rarest DX entities on the planet: it’s number two on the DXCC Most Wanted list (at time of posting), second only to P5 (North Korea).
I don’t consider myself a DXer or contester, but many of my local ham radio friends are hard-core DXers.
I do have some DXing and Contesting exposure, though, because I typically attend and volunteer to help at the annual W4DXCC conference in Tennessee.
One of the things I’ve learned attending the W4DXCC conference is the incredible amount of energy and resources it takes to execute a DXpedition like 3Y0J. It takes many years of planning, lots of money, lots of permits, top-notch healthy operators, and, frankly, lots of good old fashioned luck.
The 3Y0J team had difficulty (understatement) setting up on the island due to weather conditions. Here’s one of their latest updates detailing how they landed via their Facebook page:
3Y0J Bouvet Island 2023 Update [February 7, 2023]
Interview with 3Y0J Team Co-Leader Ken LA7GIA.
“Everything is OK in the camp. The guys are good. We have a few antennas up. Running some pileups and preparing for the storm which will arrive in a few hours and last until Thursday. The boat will pull away from the island a bit. The antennas and camp are being secured. The winds are expected to be 60 knots. 9 members will stay in the camp during the storm. They will try to run two bands this evening and tomorrow. They will take down one antenna. They will run 30m and 17m using the Spider Pole on 17 and the aluminum DX Engineering antenna on 30m.
The operation has proved to be extremely difficult. The most extreme expedition I’ve been to. Setting up the camp has been a lot of work.
We will focus on CW and phone but there will be FT8. We have just discussed this today. We are running low power, only 100w. We have no amplifiers. We have three antennas set up. We are considering setting up 20m as well. So we will have 30, 20, 17, 15.
The beach landings were accomplished by holding onto a line attached to a buoy and floating 15 meters to the beach in our survival suits. This is quite extreme. We float in all the equipment as well. Then carry the equipment 800 feet up to the camp. We have videos of this. We spent a few days to set up the antennas and tent then prepared for the storm that is coming.
Everybody is in good shape. It’s quite hard to stay here. A lot of wind, but today was a quiet, nice, and sunny day . This will change, and there will be a lot of rain. The day we arrived was a lot of wind and rain. Activating Bouvet is not like activating an island in the Caribbean. It is really windy, cold, and exhausting to bring equipment up here. It’s a different DXpedition than we thought we should do. It’s a challenge, but we hope we can stay on the island for some more days.
Regarding dupes, please only call us if you hear us. We have very good receive here on [Bouvet] Island. We do not have any facility to upload the log on the island. We are saving on fuel and connection for this. When we get back to the vessel, we will likely upload. We don’t know when the first upload will be. Going to Marama is very time consuming project because of the procedure involved. (Ken describes it.) The first upload may be in the weekend. Again, if you don’t hear us, don’t call us.
Nothing more to report. Hopefully people understand the complexity of this operation. Hopefully we will be able to stay another 7 to 10 days. We are working on plans for how to continue the operation despite the difficult weather conditions here at Bouvet.”
Media Officer & NA East Coast Pilot
3Y0J Bouvet Island 2023 DXpedition
They’re hunkered down in their tent and doing all they can to be on the air during this bout of rough weather.
Let’s hope they can move more gear, operators, and antennas to the island in the coming days.
I’m going to give it my best effort to log 3Y0J.
It’s not going to be a cake walk.
For one thing, this may very well be the last time Bouvet is activated by people (boots on the ground) in our lifetimes. I think you’ll find that DXpeditions like this–those that are very high risk–will soon be activated remotely. A remote, fully-self contained station will be set up on-site and most of the contacts will be made using remote ops in the boat or from across the world from the comfort of their own QTH.
As mentioned in the announcement above, the 3Y0J team hope to be on the air for a bit more than a week (7-10 days from February 7). DXpeditions like this are often cut short when weather forecasts indicate difficulty getting people back to the ship in one piece. If you feel you must log 3Y0J, I wouldn’t wait a few days for the pileups to subside.
Speaking of pileups, the 3Y0J pileups are some of the largest I’ve ever experienced. It will take skill to log 3Y0J if you don’t have a blowtorch station.
And then there are the QRMers
This is the side of amateur radio none of us like to see or hear. Frankly, I don’t even like mentioning it, but I think it’s important for newcomers to understand what they’re experiencing as they try to work 3Y0J (in split mode always) and also understand that there are some deceptive stations out there.
This being such a highly-anticipated DXpedition with so many folks tuned to 3Y0J calling frequencies, it gives an extremely large audience for jammers and QRMers to cause a maximum amount of disruption.
I hesitate to call these folks “LIDs” because the origins of this term refer to inexperienced ops who may simply be making mistakes out of inexperience or ignorance. With any DXpedition, there are always newbies who don’t understand split operation and call on the TX frequency. That’s to be expected and, frankly, I’m forgiving about that. Once a good op makes the mistake, they’re unlikely to ever do it again.
Sadly, the intensity of intentional jammers–those deliberately causing harmful interference to 3Y0J’s operations–is just insane. This is happening on both SSB and CW frequencies. I’m sure they’ll try to interfere with FT8 as well.
On top of that, there are a number of “pirates” posing as 3Y0J and spotting themselves to the DX cluster. If you’ve worked a 3Y0J station and felt it wasn’t too difficult because the signal was strong and there wasn’t a lot of competition, then you’ve likely worked a pirate. Double check for a confirmation after the 3Y0J team does a log upload. Also, check for announced frequencies on the 3Y0J Facebook page.
It’s a bit of a circus and it’ll likely take all of your skill to work 3Y0J. I think FT8 (in F/H mode) will turn out to be the path of least interference to logging Bouvet.
Video interview with 3Y0J Team Co-Leader Erwann (LB1QI) earlier today
Have you logged Bouvet?
Please comment when/if you confirm Bouvet! I’m very curious if they’ll submit their logs via POTA to give hunters credit for this rarest of parks!