*EDITORIAL* Island Chasers

While the majority of radio operators wait patiently for that elusive DXCC and key up the mic only when a new entity has been announced on the band, a smaller group of DXers, affectionately known as Island Chasers, are forever chasing contacts with island stations to strike off another IOTA reference number in the log.  For these operators, Island DXing represents a tremendous source of adrenaline – one which is barely understood by the run of the mill Freeband DXer – but one which is often viewed with fascination!

“So how can you tell an ‘Island Chaser’ from a typical DXCC or Contest DXer,” you might ask?  “What separates them from the rest of us?”  Essentially, Island Chasers think in terms of RSGB IOTA reference numbers (OC, AS, EU, NA, AN, SA) rather than DXCC listings.  In addition to the DXCC listing found in most shacks of 11m DXers, the Island Chaser also possesses an IOTA directory such as the one sold by the Dx Adventure Radio Club which lists most islands in the world and their corresponding identification code.  In Island Chaser lingo, this comprehensive island directory is commonly referred to as “the bible”.

One of the most obvious ways of identifying an Island Chaser is to SWL their radio contacts with island nations.  While contacts with 224 Division in the Central Pacific Ocean region, for example, are common place for 43 Division operators, an Island Chaser will not only CQ for 224 Division but identify particular islands and OC IOTA reference numbers in the Kiribati group that remain un-worked and available for contact.

Few people realise that DXCC such as 224, 266, 265, 17, 41, 43, 201 etc. are in fact made up of many small islands/Oceania reference numbers and so present far more opportunities for new contacts than at first appears.

Upon making contact with an island station, an Island Chaser will always ask “What is your Island, please?” and if it is a previously unconfirmed island will usually request a postcard identifying the island and IOTA reference number direct from the operator.  The reason for this is that quite often an IOTA station will only have a confirmation card that is a generic Division QSL card and does not mention the IOTA number for his respective island.

What makes being an Island Chaser on 27 MHz so exhilarating?  Why go to all that trouble?  The answer to that is “quite a few reasons actually!”  Whereas there are only 347 DXCC listings, a number unlikely to change in the immediate future, the quantity of islands and island reference numbers available to confirm on the other hand is HUGE!  Obviously, then, there are more opportunities to work new DX entities for Island Chasers which maintains the enjoyment and buzz of making new contacts.

The ‘challenge’ factor of confirming a small island, atoll, coral or sand cay, with few inhabitants is also attractive to the Island Chaser.  Factors such as remoteness, isolation, distance and the technological simplicity of many island stations (e.g. vertical/di-pole antenna, small power, limited operating times etc.) are also considerations which add to the thrill of the chase!

The DA-RC Island Hunter Contest, in addition to the World Wide Radio Organisation’s Islands Festival, appears to be the best opportunity for Island Chasers to showcase their talents and this event is certain to attract some of the most well known IOTA enthusiasts such as 14DA911 Eric, 14DA028 Phil, 3DA012 Roger and 43DA001 Darren who will be keen to continue their successes in past IOTA events.

In addition to the IOTA contests which attract the most fanatical of Island Hunters, a large variety of IOTA Awards are up for grabs in the DA-RC Achievement Program to celebrate not only an Island Chaser’s DX conquests, but also those operators who undertake IOTA Dxpedition work.

For all the information on DA-RC’s comprehensive IOTA awards, please click on the link to the Achievement Program…

73 de DA-RC HQ