CDXC: The UK DX Foundation
Martin Lynch and SonYaesu UK

VY0V - NA-231 East Pen Island IOTA Expedition

28 Mar 2010 20:00 | Tim Beaumont

CDXC have received the following update from Cezar VE3LYC. Many CDXC members will be chasing this rare IOTA Expedition.


Latest from Cezar...March 26th - 31st 2010

The team were reported active on CW & SSB on 20m at 1600z  29th March


UPDATE - Mar 28, 20 UTC: Still in the village, everything is very fluid right now [Ken/G3OCA, I know you understand this well]. After a lot of work and serious testing, the true skidoo's problem was not nailed. Tommy has very hardly succeeded to make his brother Timothy accept - against some form of compensation! - to trade his skidoo (which has an air cooling system) with him for a little while. Meanwhile, Jason bailed out - again. Unfortunately, Tommy needs to return back to the village tomorrow, so I needed another person to come along. Polar bear females are around, soon to take their cubs to the sea, Tommy cannot leave me alone out there. After discussions with at least half a dozen people, he finally got Andrew to agree to come tomorrow and replace him. Tommy brought in the new skidoo as I type this. We want to leave but it won't happen before 21 UTC. Sunset is at 24 UTC, so it will be a very long trip in the ... dark, through bushes but also fields of mostly sparce, but sometimes dense fields and woods of mostly amorack trees. I have the coordinates of the island, so we will go by the GPS and ... Tommy's instincts. I have no idea when we'll arrive on East Pen. but if we'll get there I will try to get on the air as soon as possible.


UPDATE - Mar 28, 15 UTC: Had a pretty good night sleep but both Tommy and I are sore. Last night diagnosed the problems with the snowmobile and got parts and work to install them this morning. This time we will leave with two snowmobiles, as Jason, the second guide, will come along. At least one of them must make it to East Pen with the sled! Last night, due to a misunderstanding, a search party (Chris and Donny) went for us, only to find the 'abandonned' sled. Since they didn't have a SAT phone, however, we couldn't communicate with them. They realized that we must have returned to the village and decided to bring the sled back with them, entering the village around midnight local time. We must have almost crossed roads at one point with those guys, and still didn't see them. It will take us now twice longer to get to 'km 44'! We should have everything ready and hit the road after 17 UTC. Expected arrival to East Pen around 24 UTC. Keep your fingers crossed, we need all the luck and more!


Image courtesy of

Mar 28, 01 UTC: Problems! No operation tonight, we're back in the village. We left Ft. Severn after 1 pm local time (17 UTC) with one snowmobile pulling a 6m long sled with everything, including myself. Temp was -17C, but no wind, so the weather was excellent. As such, we hoped to make it to East Pen in about 6 hours. The first hour went well, we made 23 km (tracks are much better on the outskirts of the village). Shortly after that though, the engine started to overheat. We stopped, checked, tried again, and so on. Over the next 3.5 hours we made another ... 21 km. Using the SAT phone Tommy tried to get help from his brother back home, but it was pretty clear that the thermostat died on us as it won't start the pump to circulate the coolant.


In the meantime we managed to boil the coolant to the point that we had to leave the vapors out, and in the process lost most of the water. We didn't have that much anti-freeze for the trip, so the prospect to make it all the way looked pretty bleak. It was so cold by then that the butan lamp wouldn't start, so it was the time to use the wood stove we took with us! We finally made some water, but by then we were 5.5 hours from the startup and had enough of all this. As such, we decided to return to the village for the night. We left everything in the middle of nowhere, 44 km from the village, about 1/3 of the way to the island.


We only took with us the cameras and the chargers, nothing else. It took Tommy only 1 hour and 20 min to drive us back, pushing at times up to 60 km/h. I must confess though that we almost lost it a couple of times, and we are so tired, can hardly wait a good night sleep. We'll work to fix the snowmobile tonight and tomorrow morning. I am a little worried to have left the rig in the cold, it is supposed to be -28C tomorrow morning. Well, if it will run after that, I think that ICOM will be delighted with the ad they will get out of it! We will try again tomorrow, keep fingers crossed! For whatever is worth it, there will be no competition from WPX SSB, hihi!




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