Category: Rockall 2009

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The MMØRAI/p QSO policy

November 20, 2008 | Rockall 2009 | No Comments

MM0RAI/p is an IOTA DX-pedition.
For DXCC, Rockall counts as GM (Scotland). If you want to work GM as a new one, the crew on Lewis island will be more than happy to help you on any band and any mode.
The IOTA program does not have a multi band or multi modes awards.
So you have to work us just on one band/mode. Extra QSOs will only make it more difficult for your friends to work us.
To give everybody a fair chance, try to work us on the easiest band for you.
For Europe and North East America this will be in the evening and the night on 80 and 40. Some of us are fanatic low-bander DXers but we will not be on Rockall for that.
During our day light hours (0800 till 1800 UTC), we will try to work DX between 30 and 10 meters.
There is no internet on Rockall. So asking us to turn our antennas to you only pollutes the DXclusters. If you have some good advice when and where to listen for you, tell us in advance or inform the pilot stations. 
On SSB we listen 5 to 10 kHz up, on CW 1 to 3 kHz up.
Look at the “frequency list” for the most change to find us.
Thanks for your cooperation. We hope to give you and many other Island hunters EU-189 as a new one.
Keep in mind that we are not on a sandy beach in the Carribian but on a cold, wet and dangerous rock in the North Atlantic!

More than 300 kilometres from any land, summer and winter attacked by meters high freezing Atlantic waves, access only for mountaineers with special tools; that is Rockall. Located in the North Atlantic, this island has been visited only sporadically. Specially trained marines and the dare-alls of Greenpeace were the only ones who could stay on the island for more than a few hours. Now a group of die-hard amateur radio operators took up the challenge to land on the island in order to make thousands of radio contacts.

atrockall 1

Rockall is the summit of an old volcano located between the North tip of Scotland and Iceland, sticking out 20 meters above the Atlantic. Landing on the 500 square meters rock is very difficult as it has steep slopes at all sides. The area is infamous for its high seas and very changeable weather all through the year. Many shipwrecks in the neighborhood are proving that.
“Island hunting” is a very popular radio sport. Before, the bigger the number of different countries contacted, the higher the status of a radio amateur. With modern equipment and more people going on expeditions, the world grew smaller and it is not uncommon radio amateurs have contacted all 338 countries. The next challenge is to contact radio amateurs from as many islands as possible. So radio amateurs are setting up expeditions to ever more deserted islands to satisfy the needs of their friends.

atrockall 2

On all European islands, radio amateurs regularly set up their antennas. An exception is Rockall Island; making it the “most wanted” spot for ten thousands of hams. Except the brave MS0IRC crew, who managed to make a few hundred contacts, all other attempts to activate the island failed. Thorough preparations, fierce training and a wide support have to make this effort to a success.
The group consists of Belgian operators, all of them with an excellent reputation in contesting, DXpeditioning and with many years of IOTA activation experience. An extensive support team will take care of transportation, construction of special made housing, development of antennas and filter systems, etc.

atrockall 3

As Rockall is not a Caribbean island with sandy beaches, landing on the rock is dangerous without special preparation. Therefore the team of operators is trained in mountain climbing and going through simulations of the landing from cold water unto steep slopes. Specially made equipment to make the landing possible is tested.

atrockall 4

Why going through all these troubles and taking risks? First of all, because the challenge is out there, landing on this island requires much more than just paying for a boat to bring you. Personal commitment, team spirit, physical and mental endurance will be essential. This is what we want to go through to give a new IOTA point to many radio friends. It is too easy for us sitting behind our radio in our warm, cosy radio room and telling others where to go and how to get there. We want to go all the way! We want to rock all!

atrockall 5

We recently captured a video of the famous landing on Rockall by Tom Mc Clean. Now you can see what it’s all about!

Historical events

October 12, 2008 | Rockall 2009 | No Comments

Historical events before the 2009 IOTA expedition 

  • On Saturday the 18th of October 3 core team members (ON4HIL; ON4ATW and ON6CC) climbed a marl rock about 20 meters high. We also had our cameraman with us (ON6ZG) and 2 team builders (ON7YT and ON6ZU). 
    Initially we had a rough time but as time emerged things got easier and everybody reached the top several times that day. Not only up but also down was a tricky business, but everybody succeeded in the mission. A special thanks goes out to Serge who learned us some good tricks to climb the mountain.
  • On Sunday the 19th of October we headed for “Maaseik” to get some water experience.
    4 core team members (ON4HIL, ON4ATW, ON6CC and ON4IA) were present. Everybody had their diving suit on and Marleen, ON6ZU had some hard action planned for us. First we had to do some swimming with diving suit on, and swim to the boot. The most difficult thing to do was climbing on the landing pear. It was a hard but rewarding day for all of us. Our cameraman, ON6ZG took some nice shots with his camera.
  • On the 21st of December almost all team members were present to have a climbing drill in Hasselt (Belgium) with all the climbing gear. ON4HIL, ON4ATW, ON4IA, ON7YT, ON6ZU and ON5TN had a go to climb a 20 meter high wall. Pictures can be found at the media link.
  • On the 18th of January we had a special session in building and stripping down the shelter. All tubes were marked. We have made a special movie how we did it. Pictures, click here 
  • On the 25th of January we once more had a climbing session in Hasselt with this time ON5TN; ON4ATW; ON6CC; ON6ZU and ON7YT.
  • On the 1st of February the whole team was present at the climbing day in “Dave”, in the province of Namur. ON4ATW; ON4HIL; ON4IA; ON5TN; ON6CC; ON6ZU; ON7YT and our climbing instructor Guy. The rock had 2 stages. The first stage was about 35 meter high. The second one was another 20 meter steep climbing. We had a great time and everybody succeeded in climbing the steep mountain. Click here for pictures 
  • On the 15th of February almost the whole team (ON4HIL; ON6CC; ON4ATW; ON5TN; ON4AHF; ON7YT and ON6ZU) was present on the “rescue-exercise” in Oostvoorne (Holland). It was an exhausting day for us all. Besides Theo’s perforated eardrum, everybody succeeded in the mission ! Pictures, here.
  • On the 1st of March we had a climbing session at a place called “Hotton” in the province of Luxemburg. The whole team did a great job and learned a lot more from our climbing instructor Guy. It was a very steep rock with few useful holes for climbing. Click here for pictures
  • On the 22 nd of March we had a big event in “Dongelberg” where we sailed to a rock with our shelter and pulled everything up with our hoisting-arm and set-up the complete shelter. Also our famous launcher was tested again. This was the final stage in our expedition setup for next month. Pictures? Click here and here
  • On the 5th of April our team descended from up-river towards the finish 6km further downstream in divingsuit. We also tested our portable radio’s. They had to be waterproof, and they were !! Pictures were taken, click here
  • On the 19th of April we had our final trip on the sea. We sailed from Ostend to the open sea, 35 km away. We had a vertical and our FT-897D with us. All worked great. We worked a couple of stations on 80, 40 and 20 meter band. Look for pictures here
  • On the 25th of April, Henk, ON4AHF and Dirk, ON5GS left our base in direction of Stornoway ! Pictures can be found here. 

Travel schedule

September 15, 2008 | Rockall 2009 | No Comments

elinca rockall

On the 27th of April the core team (5 persons) will fly from Brussels to London. From London it goes to Glasgow. From Glasgow we will take a domestic flight to Stornoway. Our supply team will already be there (ON4AHF and ON5GS). Together we will load our ship, “The Elinca” to take us all the way to Rockall in a 2 days sail…
The earliest date to be active will be around 30 April.

elinca rockall