*DXPEDITION REPORT* 210DA0, Wallis & Futuna

Bonjour 27 MHz enthusiasts.

Freeband DX databases such as Islands Base Online (IBO) and DX Proofs confirm that Wallis & Futuna is a “Most Wanted” DXCC entity, having not been activated on the world’s best HF band, eleven meters, for more than a decade!!!

Here’s the sanctioned dxpedition report for 210DA/0 by 43DA001 Darren whom is the solo dx adventurer for this venture into the heart of the South Pacific…

DAY 1: DECEMBER 27, 2022

After saying au revoir to the XYL (43DA1112 Leonie) and kids, I check in at Brisbane International Aéroport at 06:30 UTC to commence the first leg of my dx adventure to the south-western Pacifique.

For the most part, it’s a hassle-free experience – except for my Kenwood PS-53 power supply which sparks the ire of Customs personnel as it passes through the ionized rays of the x-ray scanner.  The unit must be unwrapped and inspected for contraband before it can pass.

Baggage weighs in at 50.01 kg which is anticipated, however, due to the additional 23kg bag I purchased during online booking, I’m charged for only 4 kg excess and slugged with an additional $64 AUD.

Excellent résultat!

The Aircalin A320 Air Bus departs Brisbane at 09:30pm UTC, and soon I’m soaring high above the crsytalesque Coral Sea enroot to Nouvell Calédonie, a picturesque archipelago some 1210 km from my QTH in Queensland Australia, made famous by the likes of world class DX Hunter 172AT101 Philippe who was QRV from Wallis & Futuna himself more than a decade ago.

A 60-min stopover in Nadi, Fiji, relives very fond memories of my 2 previous Islands On The Air (IOTA) Tours of 99 Division in both 2014 and 2020 respectively, but we’re soon in the air again bound for NC.

After a 2-hour, 55 min flight, arrival in this remote French overseas collectivity is at 12:30 UTC and I pass through Customs with my oversized baggage without raising any eyebrows.  Everything is in order with the equipment too which gives peace of mind.

During my stopover on Grande Terre, I stay the night at a quaint guesthouse, just a stone’s throw from La Tontouta Aéroport, some 50km north of the capital NouméaThe caretaker, Monsieur Fred, collects me from the terminal, albeit 40 min late, and by 11:45pm local time I’ve crashed out in a comfortable room at the Chambre Tontouta la Tamoa (See pictured below) and am dreaming of 11m DX pile ups.

At 20:00 UTC the next morning my Samsung Galaxy phone alarm sounds and after a quick shower, mug of café, and change of clothes, Fred transports me back to the aéroport for my scheduled 22:45 UTC flight to Wallis Island.  I bid au revoir to my new French friend but in a sudden moment my world is shattered at check-in where I’m confronted with the following…

“Je suis désolé Monsieur Darren. The check-in for your flight is CLOSED.  The plane departs in 20 minutes we’re sorry…”

Imagine my horror when I’m informed that my flight time to Wallis Island has been changed last evening to 1hr, 15 mins earlier and I must remain in NC for a further few days until the next flight.


Some firm words from me about a lack of la communication from Air Calin (i.e. no phone call to inform me of the change), and animated gesticulation involving the original booking sheet, forces their hand and they rush me through Customs to board the flight for Wallis.  Crisis averted!

The sweetener is an upgrade to Economy Premium which is the equivalent of travelling first class.  This translates to more leg room, better cuisine, a few free breaky beers, a pillow and blanket, free inflight entertainment and special attention from the 2 lovely flight attendants hihi.

“Merci beaucoup…!”

DAY 2: DECEMBER 28, 2022

The descent into Wallis is a sight to behold.  Beneath the aircraft’s underbelly are a miscellany of tiny unpopulated sand islets which lie on the outer reef of the atoll, dotted with coconut palms and surrounded by still aqua blue.

The récif is broken by channels that seemingly give vessels access to and from the main island, and the area between the purple coral formations and centre island is dotted with fishing boats in the sheltered lagoon as we pass overhead.

At 02:00 UTC, we touch down at Hihifo Aéroport on Uvea Island, 5.6 km from Matāʻutu, the capital city, 2,105km from NouméaOn exiting the cabin door of the Air Calédonie International Airbus I’m overwhelmed with thick tropical humidity that smacks me square in the face.  Something like opening the door to an industrial furnace and stepping into the flames.

Again, the journey through Customs, however, is incident free and I’m welcomed at the exit gate by the caretaker of my ham friendly accommodation for the transfer to Lausikula Chambres D’hotes.

Monsieur Manuel is a friendly Wallisian, well versed in Français language of course but not so proficient in English, yet we overcome any communication barriers with simple phrases and bucket loads of patience.

After 10 min along narrow roads, lined with dense, green forest, we arrive at Lausikula (Pictured below right), on the south west coast of the island, and the priority is to immediately establish the station.

A large table is added to the room to house the radios + DX-cessories which are soon unpacked, unwrapped, plugged in and raring to go for some DX satisf-ACTION.  Two x 30m feedlines wind through a glass sliding door and out onto the spacious lawn in preps for connection to the rigs.  Both are military grade 50 Ohm cable, imported from Italian manufacturer Messi & Paoloni, and perfect for this application with their low loss and flexibility.

Incomplete guesthouse renovations outside of the room make for the perfect platform for my 10m NBS mast, which is secured to one of the concrete pylons with rope and then guyed to various parts of the garden for additional support.  The 4 element Moxon antenna, composed of 8 x fiberglass spreaders and wire, is assembled on the grass and eventually locked and loaded to the telescopic mast which accompanies me on all dx adventure.

My clothes drenched with sweat from the stifling WX, the first “CQ DX, 210DA/0” call on the international call frequency produces a mini-pile up of Oceania (OC) based stations on our QSY frequency further down the band.

At 05:07 UTC, good mates 43DX234 Tom and 43AT101 Steve on the east coast of Australia are un and deux in the log respectively, like seagulls to a potato chip, and they’re followed soon after by experienced DX Hunters 43DA050 Geoff and 43DA007 Mike, and 79DA383 Conrad on Luzon Island (OC-042) in the South China Sea.  Others from Indonesia, Nouvell Calédonie, Hawaii, the Philippines and Polynésie Française are ITL also, alongside stations from south-east Asia such as 153AT777 Jan in Thailand.

At 18:04 UTC, a surprise contact with 2DA010 Jeff in Michigan USA ignites an opening with the Americas.  Stations in Mexico (10), Venezuela (5), Belize (218), Suriname (72), French Guyana (22), Canada (9), Uruguay (12), Chile (32) and several Caribbean Islands are all logged, with two of the strongest being 10RC555 Edgar and 9AT119 Alex in NA at 5/9.

With a spectacular Polynesian sunrise flickering on the horizon, 19:46 UTC sparks conditions with South America (SA) and big gun ops in Brésil dominate the log in the next few hours.  Among them are Freeband community icons 3DA002 Roger, 3SD170 Thiago and 3AT059 Valdecyr.

In the West Indies, fellow DA-RC member 158DA711 Terry is the odd OM out, slicing through the pile up from his home on Tobago Island (SA-009) with a thumping 5/9 signal.

On the same path, the first African stations break into the 210DA/0 Log34RC213 Paco on Fuerteventura Island (AF-004) is recorded, together with a collection of other callers from the les îles Canaries, a stunning Spanish archipelago off the coast of north-western AF characterized by rugged landscapes.

With no EU opening in the evening, and only a few dozen blood-thirsty mosquitoes to keep me company in the shack, these opérateur round off a successful first day of dx adventure from this “Most Wanted” DX entity with 136 stations logged.

DAY 3: DECEMBER 29, 2022

Day 3 for the OC-054 activity begins with a surging signal from 61RC104 Jorge in Ecuador, a country which straddles the equator on South America’s west coast.

After a strong brew of café and a croissant with jam for breakfast, I’m QRV again as 210DA0 on triple 5.  Stations from SA are again éminent as Uruguay (12) and Brazil (3) dominate the log, with a sprinkling of Kiwi guys also.

At 05:44 UTC, 3DA007 Ali offers a commanding 5/9 signal from his home in Brazil while 41SD101 Rene from the Land of the Long White Cloud has the ICOM IC-7300 transceiver in raptures.

Situated in peaceful Lotoalahi Village, one of the island’s 21 villages, the guesthouse is a small number of footsteps from the sea, a great expanse of bleu, with breaking waves a few hundred metres offshore on the perimeter of the lagoon.  It’s the perfect location for DX work, with spectaculaire yagi take-offs to the west and clear approach to Pacifique countries such as Australia and Nouvelle-Zélande, as well as short path (SP) access to South America.

At 0808 UTC I’m electrified as 1AT485 Riccardo in Italy becomes the first European (EU) station in the log (ITL).  This is achieved via the Long Path (LP) which provides an incredible opening for the next 5 hours.  Operating in split mode, no less than 300 stations from major DX markets Italy, France and Germany are logged, together with an abundance of other EU DXCC.

The strongest stations are 29DA010 Charlie, 108SD030 Ean, and renowned IOTA Hunter 26DX047 Darran in the United Kingdom, as well as Français beacon 14DA049 Fred and 30SD666 Luis from the Sugar Delta club in Spain.

It’s tough conditions indeed for both DXpeditioner and DX Hunters, eased somewhat by the transition from simplex to split frequency ops, listening 5-15 KHz up.  Overall though, it’s an incredible spread of EU friends, many excité to have worked an ALTO in the deep heart of Oceania.

The band eventually quietens at 2am local time and it’s time for some much needed ‘shut-eye’ with 400+ stations ITL.

DAY 4: DECEMBER 30, 2022

Fueled by a breakfast of bread and Marielle’s exotique homemade jams, I’m QRV as the sun comes up over the eastern part of the lagoon.

At 00:21 UTC, 195C02034 David on Grenada (NA-024) is a welcomed addition to the log. This island nation is located between the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago, and is thought to be one of the most elusive DXCC entities in the region.

22DA010 Olivier in French Guyana is another highlight of the early morning DX work on Wallis. TX on the northeast coast of South America, Olivier is one of the most active Freeband DX Hunters in his country and it’s an exciting twist with me as his Australia based QSL Manager to have him in the 210DA0 dxpedition log.

Opérateurs in Brazil, Mexico and Costa Rica are ITL also but soon the pathway to SA becomes untenable so I take the opportunity to walk into Mata Utu to gather some supplies.

The volcanic dirt road is lined on both sides with thick jungle type vegetation, of coconut palms and other native hardwood species that have been swallowed by an invasive vine. History reveals that this plant was introduced to the island during World War II, to create a protective canopy type effect, enabling soldiers to move beneath the foliage, and remain hidden or camouflaged.  Regrettably, it’s now infested the whole island.

As I amble past traditional thatched houses, known as ‘fale’ or ‘api nofo’, the suffocating tropical humidity creates rivulets of sweat that stings my eyes and cakes clothing to my skin but it’s a cleansing WX expérience that only a nation in the Pacifique can provide.

A stop at a catholique monastery, at the highest point of the Atoll, provides breathtaking views of the surrounding seascapes and a refreshing breeze that soothes my sunburnt skin.  A chain of glistening white sand cays on the atoll’s coral rim bask in a sea of turquoise, while swirling sea birds such as white-tailed tropicbirds, shearwaters and petrels ride the salt air currents in synchronized motion.

Less than 30 min later, my backpack is loaded with noodles, café, biscuits, salad and fruit from the supermarket and I’m soon on my way back to the lodgings.

Upon my return, I’m down the band chasing other South Pacifique countries. A huge pile up with Australian stations has 27.375 MHz LSB smoldering. 43DA373 Wayne in Brisbane and 43DA225 Frank in SA steal the show with blazing 5/9 signals in a period which nets more than 40 stations inside the Oceanic bubble.

AT 0600 UTC, 43VW100 Lyndon on remote Flinders Island in the Furneaux Group (OC-195) is an exciting IOTA contact. Situated in Bass Strait, north east of Tasmania, this island is said to be the place where the last remnants of aboriginal Tasmanian population were exiled by the colonial British government.

The evening time produces just 3 contacts with Europe, with long time radio friend 35AT160 Peter in the Eastern Alps securing a place in the 210-division log, alongside a couple of weak Italians.

It’s lights out at 1am local time when the band completely shuts down, accept for a few low voices on the Australian call fréquence, 277.355 MHz LSB.

DAY 5: DECEMBER 31 (New Year’s Eve)

A few hours after sunrise, and a scattering of exchanges with the Americas, I’m delighted when 196DA101 Roberto in Guadeloupe checks in from his home in Mer des Caraïbes.

In the arvo, 43DA148 Peter from his QTH in the Victorian gold fields, has the Yaesu FT-950 transceiver begging for mercy with a gigantesque 5/9+20 signal that could easily place him sipping coconut milk with mic in hand on a nearby sand cay.

With the Polynesian IOTA station purring, my great mate in Australia sets off a staggering pile-up with Aussie stations which extends for the next few hours.  World Radio, Sugar Delta, Echo Echo, Delta-Alfa and Tweed Radio callsigns all figure in the log, with many tens of independent stations identified in the log as ‘UNITS’ noted too.

Dinner in the evening is Ia ota, a traditional Wallisian dish which contains tuna and citrus soured veges such as taro, yam, and pumpkin.  An incredibly delicious meal, it’s exactly what the Witch Dr ordered after a long and exhausting day on the “CQ!”.  Washed down with a few Nouvelle Calédonie ‘Number One’ beers and I’m primed for navigating plucky EU pileups in the ensuing hours.

At 0900 UTC, 1AT586 Franco on Sicily (EU-025) Island kindles a brief opportunity with 20 EU stations logged over a 30-minute period. Austria, Italy, Serbia, Poland and Hungary all feature in the computerized log here thanks to the zero noise-floor on the LP.

Leading DX Hunter 35WR035 Frank is among them, QRV in the field from his clandestine location in the Austrian countryside.  Frank is one of many passionate guys in EU who’ve taken to vantage points like mountains and seaside cliff-tops in the early hours of the morning in an attempt to achieve the best possible opportunity to work the OC-054 station.  I’m over the moon, then, that my friend is à succès!

The anticipation of welcoming in the 2023 New Year though is tempered by a lack of propagation with major DX Markets in the northern hémisphère and unfortunately no other stations are logged after 0900 UTC.  This leaves the total for Day 5 at just 59 stations, and 558 ITL overall.

DAY 6: JANUARY 1, 2023

Up at 5am local time on New Year’s Day, the grey line ushers in a throng of stations in SA via the SP, including Guadeloupe, Martinique, Puerto Rico and Grenada in the West Indies, as well as Brésil.  There’s also a swarm of stations worked in NA; from Mexico, Canada and the USA, including DA-RC HQ Rep 2DA120 Tom on the shores of the Columbia River in Washington at 5/9.

Breakky this morning consists of freshly baked bread sticks and local honey + 3 cups of café and the caffeine hit inspires me to hike to Lalolalo Lake, some 2 hour walk to the southwest of the island.

In the harsh tropical sun, I brush away flies and dodge kéké, small quail type birds that dart in and out of the vegetation when they sense my presence, until I arrive at my X on the map!

400m in diameter and 88m deep, Lac Lalolalo is one of 5 crater lakes in the country, spectaculaire volcanic formations said to have resulted from the collapse of ancient calderas. From atop one of its steep cliffs, I note the sheer walls of the lake are surrounded by thick jungle. I’m told later that Wallisians consider this a sacré place, one previously inhabited by the gods.  For me though, it’s an incredible sight and I’m overwhelmed by its grandeur.

After a few hours, I’m back at the guesthouse with the antenna pointed 240 degrees towards Down Under. A collection of 43 div stations, and Freeband DX Hunters in Southeast Asia highlighted by the presence of 60HK01 Igor on Lamma Island (AS-006), are the entrée for a fleeting opening with EU in the late hours of the evening.

In between mouthfuls of sweet pudding made of taro roots, banana and papaya, stations in Greece, Portugal, Italy, France and Malta are worked via split fréquence mode, until the 210 station is closed in the early hours of the morning and I can no longer keep my eyes open.

DAY 7: JANUARY 2, 2023

I rise from my DX induced coma and stagger down to the sea to wash away the léthargie of another late night cuddled up with the rig.

A swim, combined with an infusion of café and croissants and jam though has me rejuvenated and primed for a thorough probe of countries to the immediate east.

On the plate are again SA and Pacifique countries who relish the opportunity to work the prized Polynésien station.

6RC666 Anibal in the Amazon tips his hat on the fréquence and I’m as delighted as a wave in the wind to work good mate 43DA021 Brian in South Australia. Arguably Australia’s most experienced and successful 11m band DX Hunter, most will remember that Brian also teamed with me for a dxpedition to Nauru as 271DA0 a few years back.

The mist shrouding LP into EU lifts around 10 pm local time and more than 50 stations from the EU péninsule are attached to the log. Working in split mode, it’s another epic pile up with 1DRK01 Dariusz (Italy), 310AT101 Tom (Latvia), 161EX016 Mariusz (Poland), 47DX011 Finn (Denmark) and 104DA104 Alex (Corsica) all notable signals.

116AT102 Halil on the Anatolian isthmus in Western Asia also cements his division into the log for the first time.

When propagation dissipates well after midnight, I’m left with almost 800 stations in the bank and in desperate need of sleep!!!

DAY 8: JANUARY 3, 2023

Loads of Aussie stations operating within the 40-channel allocation, fused with a handful of other Pacifica ops in Micronésie are again on offer when the ICOM IC-7300 is powered up in the early hours of the morning.  2YB108 Travis, in San Antonio Texas, also checks in with a 5/7 report.

At midday, after some 50 more stations from all Australian states and territories are added to the log, I ride a bike into MatāʻutuHere I seize an opportunity to visit a small store which sells a range of local products, including shell necklaces, earrings, carvings, detailed tapa cloth, books, art work and islander dress.  I’m able to purchase a Wallis Island shirt, a flag, and a large bundle of 90 postcards to be sent to sponsors across the globe.  With the value of the Aussies dollar well below that of the Pacific Franc (XPF), I’m blown to bits when the cost is converted to an incredible $750 AUD. Wow!

All up I’m absent from the shack for just under 3 hours, and I’m soon back on the international call fréquence 27.555 MHz USB calling “CQ DX” and targeting islands in the South China Sea with favourable short path propagation from Southeast Asia.

91RT602 Gabo on Penida Island (OC-022), 79SD143 Jeru on Negros Island (OC-129) and 153TX3 Ken on the Indochinese Péninsule are some of many stations from this region added to the log.

At 8:00 UTC, an explosive 5/7 signal from 56LR007 Pasi in the Nordic country of Finland startles the long path into action.  This is the catalyst for 200 more exalté EU stations who achieve the log for 210DA0 this evening.  High on adrénaline, I’m pumped to log stations from the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, and western Europe, with memorable signals from 14DA026 Nicolas, 26AT022 Ron, 14DA073 Thierry, 16CI555 Wesley and 13DA012 Joe.

The pile-up is mostly well behaved, however, stern reminders about being courteous to other callers are issued by both myself and the on-air band police to a few overzealous opérateurs who conduct themselves with little restraint.

This wraps up Day 8 with 997 stations in the log and ensures a good night’s sleep when the band eventually shuts down at 2am local time.

DAY 9: JANUARY 4, 2023

Outside the window of my guesthouse, the star-filled pitch-black sky quickly turns fuchsia; of pink, purple, orange and assorted shades of bleu.  Lausikula village is rising from its slumber, along with the local roosters of course, and the band is soon buzzing with signals from SA countries Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Venezuela and Chile.

As the kettle boils and a pot of strong café is poured, I discover 27.515 MHz LSB is a commotion of signal-mania from island stations in the Caraïbes Sea.  DX pirates in Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad, Dominica and Granada are all logged on this fréquence, which continues to reveal precious treasures for my Pacific dxpedition voyages.

For lunch I feast on delicious fafaru, a traditional Wallisian dish consisting of fresh fish marinated in seawater.  Served with lime sauce and slices of fresh pineapple, this meal provides the perfect inspiration to begin writing out the many postcards, from a space, down by the water’s edge.  For any serious DX Hunter, a post card received direct from a most wanted DXCC, with or without QSO details, is worth its weight in gold and this is something I’ve offered to all dxpedition sponsors over the years as a small token of thanks.

The afternoon hours are marked by the arrival of some rare DX with 99DA101 Tony in Fiji and 113JS175 Ayub in Malaysia delivering a much-needed adrenaline boost to 210 operations.  Hawaiian Islands personnalités Pineapple Warrior and Coconut Juice are also logged on 27.385 MHz LSB and provide lighthearted QSO action.

Due to some unfortunate solar activity, an opening with EU does not eventuate this evening, leaving the log tally stranded on 1081 stations.

DAY 10: JANUARY 5, 2023

Overnight rain continues into the morning and the liquid sunshine appears to have a dampening effect on 11m propagation.  In fact, there’s barely a whimper across the 26-27 MHz spectrum, except for the usual big guns from Brazil such as 3DA148 Tony who’s a consistent 5/9 signal, regardless of the time of day and band conditions!

I use the lull to check out a fascinating archéologique site called Talietumu, a 40minute walk from the guesthouse.  Also known as Kolo Nui, this is the site of a ruined medieval Tongan fort.  Surrounded by strong walls of volcanic black basalt rocks, the forteresse is believed to have been founded by Tongans in the 1400s AD.  History says they’d built up a powerful navy of large canoes that made them the chief power in the south-west Pacific.

Forest enclosing the path back to the guesthouse is like a drive-thru take away. Bananas, passionfruit, mangoes and bread fruit grow along the roadside and I strip the flesh from trees as I make my way back to the shack.  I’m careful not to startle the local species of flying fox (fruit bat), known as peka, who squabble for perches in the canopy too!

At 05:50 UTC, 100EK250 Jeong in South Korea, only a few miles from the heavily militarisé border with the communist North, is logged.  Then, at 06:23, I almost swallow the mic as 173RC001 Eric on Réunion, a tiny French-speaking island in the Indian Ocean tucked between Mauritius (168) and Madagascar, appears on la fréquence at 5/3 via the LP.

25DT111 Taka, 153SD102 Raven and 155TW429 Alex in the North-western Pacifique are logged soon after which speaks well for an opening via the SP with EU but solar flares continue to inflict mayhem on prop with this major DX market and we wrap up late in the evening with just over 1100 stations ITL.

DAY 11: JANUARY 6, 2023

After some 30 contacts with operators in NA, I’m in urgent need of dxpedition downtime and some mental refinancing.

Insulated by the still, turquoise shallows of the surrounding lagoon and satellite islands, Uvae is dominated by tangled jungle greens and paradisiaque landscapes. It’s also home to some spectacular churches such as the Chapel of St. Bernadette and it’s here where I spend the morning, chilling out by the water in the shade of a coconut palm with one of Lee Child’s action novels and admiring the architectural brilliance of the church and nearby St Bernadette statue.

Wallisians, I’ve read, are devout Catholics and their faith plays an important role in daily life. Significant events, for example, are always marked by the celebration of mass, followed by a Katoaga (sharing of gifts) and traditional dances.  This marvelous multi-story chapel is built at the base of a cliff, overlooking the lagoon, and the grounds of the church here play host to such festivities several times during the year.

After lunch, I’ve resumed international DX warfare and am delighted to log 5SD124 Mayra on Isla Margarita (SA-012), a mountainous parcel of land some 40 km north of mainland Venezuela.  Another memorable contact is with 178AT111 Andy in the Balkans; however, Andy is the solitary EU TX station logged in the evening hours.

2300 UTC sees a string of superb contacts. 143DA010 Steven in St Lucia, 72CI077 Brent in Guatemala and 121IR073 Jermaine in the Bahamas are awesome log entries. Tailing a list of other opérateur in the Americas and the log sits on a respectable 1167 contacts at the close of business!

DAY 12: JANUARY 7, 2023

Fellow DA-RC members 10DA112 Pepe in the State of Michoacán de Ocampo on Mexico’s Pacific coast, 4DA101 George from Argentina et República and 3DA101 Carlos on Brazil’s Atlantic coast are fast to embrace an opportunity to grace the 210DA0 log on daybreak. By 3 cups of café, I’ve worked a host of opérateur in Latin America.

With the Moxon fixed on 100 degrés, 131AT101 in Guyana is a whopping 5/9 signal and an ATNO for this avid dx adventurer.  For me, one of the great things about dxpedition work is that it takes you closer to DXCC that haven’t always been accessible from the home QTH.

Post-lunch it’s a DX-travaganza involving océanique DXCC Nouvelle-Zélande (41), Australie (43), les Philippines (79), Indonésie (91), Nouvelle-Calédonie (172) and Polynésie française (201).

The Indonesian chat fréquence 27.305 MHz USB offers up a swarm of 91 division opérateur on several islands along the archipelago such as Java, Borneo, Sumatra and Bali. The callsign system in this country tosses up some interesting combinations of numbers and letters but I do my best to decipher them for the log.  For me, they remain some of the most interesting stations to work on the entire band.

After greyline conditions subside, the log is barely troubled in the remaining hours and we settle on 1208 stations ITL at the conclusion of the day.

DAY 13: JANUARY 8, 2023

With the log sitting at over 1200 contacts so far, logging new guys is proving more and more difficile as each day passes. USA and Europe, in particular remain the greatest source of potential new stations for 210DA0 so I throw my fate, and that of the log’s, in the hands of the DX gods and pray for an offering.

Mainland Oz and 91 division island stations are bountiful over the course of the day but from roughly 10:00 UTC I’m doing cartwheels as the LP provides a scattering of workable EU signals at irrégulier intervals.  Stations from Italy (1), Denmark (47), Malta (93), Hungary (109), Poland (161), Sardinia (165) and the Slovak Republic (330) are noted.

It’s an intoxicating thrill when 35SR159 Chris in south-central EU hits me with a 5/3 signal through the Sennheiser headphones and nails down a spot in the log as well.

A crew of US stations on 27.385 MHz LSB hammer down the pegs on Day 12 and the log is left a pig’s whisker short of 1250 with just a few days left of operations.

DAY 14: JANUARY 9, 2023

After a breakfast of mango, kafikas, baguette and café, I’m joined at the maison d’hôtes by 2 Canadian sailors.

Peter and Salvadori have arrived on the Atoll from via Fiji on board a 47′ Simpson design, océan going Catamaran which is currently moored in the Baie d’Ouest, just offshore of Uvae. They’re fascinated by the IOTA DX station and spend some time with me in the shack, asking questions for better compréhension of the hobby, listening to my on-air interactions with other opérateurs and making connections with their own marine radio ops. I’m excité when they put me in touch with a cat skipper based in Australia with a view to organizing a future dxpedition to some of more remote parts of the Pacifique such as Mellish Récif (OC-072).

Off Venezuela’s coast in the southern Caraïbes, 158DT991 John on the île of Trinidad (SA-011) is a lauded addition to the log at 0305 UTC. Along with an army of OC stations from 41, 41, 172 and 201 divisions, 25AT102 Ken and 155DA441 Gary in the northwestern Pacifique region supplement the 210DA0 log in the mid-afternoon.

Unfortunately, there’s no opening with Europe in the evening hours so I soak up the time writing postcards to sponsors, replying emails, updating the online log and other admin tasks.

Day 15: JANUARY 10, 2023 (THE FINAL DAY)

Today is all about logging new DXCC and islands and, in the early hours, I employ a ‘search & pounce’ style of ops more accustomed to contesters on ham bands. In my sights are the known chat frequencies of small island nations and these QRG are shown in the excerpt below, taken from the 57 page DXpedition Logistics Guide I complied for sponsors. This creative DX methodology bags stations in the USA (27.385 MHz LSB), the Caraïbes (27.515 MHz LSB) and numerous islands in Hawaii (Maui, O’Ahu, Kauai and the Big Island), but unfortunately comes up short with Kiribati on 27.055 MHz USB.  This QRG, and 27.335 USB before it, was once a melting pot of 224, 265 & 266 action from opérateurs on islands scattered across the archipelago.  However now, it barely registers a whisper.

In the Gulf of California, 10WR313 Raymundo on Île de Carmen (NA-135) in the Campeche State Island Group, is logged on 27.385 also and this IOTA station is the highpoint of day time ops.

My last meal on the island is marked by something of a celebration with some of the locals, together with my hosts Manuel and Marielle, cooking me a mouthwatering Tama’ara’a. Fish, pork, chicken, bananas, breadfruit, various root veges and exotic fruits were steamed in leaves inside a unique underground oven called ahima’a which was filled with hot volcanic stones. After being cooked slowly for several hours, the food came out incredibly tender, flavorful, and fragrant, and I knocked off a couple of plates until I could simply fit no more in my stomach.

Traditional music, to the sound of drums and lali, a Wallisian instrument of percussion, and singing and dancing went on well into the night and provided a pleasant ambience when I returned indoors to chase EU DX and hopefully secure one last opening to close the event.

At 0741 UTC, I’m frantically into the log file as 47DX054 Leif on Péninsule du Jutland replies to a CQ call on 27.515 MHz USB. This instigates a period of intense struggle as EU opérateurs, not yet ITL, battle blind callers, low signals and QSB, to achieve a contact with this ‘Most Wanted’ DX entity.

From his QTH on the shores of the Baltic Sea, 56SD106 Ville delivers an outrageous 5/9 signal which no doubt echoes across the waters to uninhabited islets on the perimeter of the lagoon. Stations from 1, 14, 20 and 161 divisions are added to the log over the next few hours and this is the icing on the cake for a dxpedition log which plateaus at 1324 stations worked from 82 DXCC at 2:15am local time.

In wrapping up, I’d like to thank every person who contributed towards the success of this venture.  The support I received in the 11m DX community — from Sponsors, from both fellow Delta-Alfa members and non-members, was tremendous and this will inspire me to seek new challenges in the not-so-distant future.

I hope you enjoyed the dx adventure as much as I did!

73 de Darren, 43DA001