Hello everyone.

First of all, before starting this report, I’d like to thank the entire Dx Adventure Radio Club, including fellow DA-RC Members, and the DA-RC HQ Team, for their encouragement and support in the preparation of this activity from the ITU Headquarters in Geneva.

After discussing the proposal with my friend 14DA073 Thierry on Saturday, April 02, 2022, we decided to move forward with our research in order to finalize the project.

As most will be aware, Freeband operations from the ITU Headquarters in Geneva are logistically precarious, hence the reason why it hasn’t appeared on the band for well over a decade.

History says that friends with the International Radio (IRC-DX) group went on to activate this DXCC in 2008 and this, according to 11m data bases, is the last known activity on eleven meters.

For 500DA/0, the ongoing threat of security intervention, fines and/or possible incarceration, necessitated a stealth portable station and a small window of operating time was granted through appropriate networks.

After a few weeks, the logistics file is practically complete; inside is a detailed station inventory, transport/travel particulars, IARU guidelines to ensure the activity meets rigorous rules around radio operations, and much more.

I talk to 43DA001 Darren from the DA-RC HQ Team about it and, with his help and agreement, we launch a request for sponsorship assistance to help meet some of the anticipated costs of the dxpedition.

A page on the DA website is born and a long list of sponsors are soon added, with a range of benefits promised in return, including access to a private Facebook group and first look at the log, proofs, dates and start times, QRG details and more.

The 11m community responds favorably to the request for donations and we’re delighted they embrace the unusual ‘500’ concept.

Keeping the real DXCC (i.e. 235 Division) suppressed until the team is QRT was an essential strategy to maintain the secrecy of the activity; one that’s been used with success by other dxpedition teams in the past.

Time is progressing with great strides and here we are on Saturday May 14, the DAY!

The car is loaded, and I’m leaving my home in France at 5:30 am to commence the journey.

After 2 hours on the highways I pick up my dxpedition partner, 14DA073 Thierry, with whom we’re going towards Geneva and we settle in for the drive.

The weather is excellent, with magnificent blue sky, and temperatures between 22° in the morning and 30° in the afternoon, and no wind to speak of.

Geneva is a city located in the south west part of Switzerland; a QTH surrounded by the Alps and Jura mountains, the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lie in south-central Europe.

A good hour later we arrive in front of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and what a sight is before our eyes.

ITU’s Headquarters are conveniently located overlooking the Place des Nations in the Heart of Geneva’s United Nations district.

There are 3 ITU buildings, and one of them in particular — Varembé — the one where the radio club ‘4U1ITU’ is located — is easily identifiable by the miscellany of antennas on the roof, overlooking the Swiss city’s neighbouring streets.

Hearts racing with the adrenalin rush of dx adventure, we enter the only open building — Montbrilland — to meet our contact person in the ITU security guards.

After a few exchanges, the legal procedure which allows us to be able to access the buildings is explained to us, but we’re already well aware of what the conditions are, thanks to our substantial scouting missions.

A request to the manager of the 4U1ITU radio club is normally essential by visiting radio amateurs, but since we’re going to activate on the pirate band 11m, we needed to come up with an alternative to achieve the access badge.

This is where our planning paid dividends!

The guards explain to us that it’s forbidden to settle in the outside area of the ITU which we had of course anticipated.

Recon indicates that there’s a buffer zone of about 2m wide all around the buildings which are an integral part of the ITU, and these areas are marked in red on the map.

After having confirmed our approach and intention to perform citizens band radio operations in /P mode we have their authorization to settle inside this protected zone (blue dot).

They warn us, in any case, that they’ll be observing us on their remote monitoring consoles and that under no circumstances are we to stay beyond our allotted time or venture to another part of the property.

It’s therefore with peace of mind that we know we’ll be able to install the equipment and carry out this activation serenely, albeit in a tight window of opportunity!

The portable station is installed and this consists of a compact Yaesu FT-891 transceiver, with the MARS mod, a battery for power, a Heil Sound Pro-set Elite headset, an RM Italy KL-503 250 watt amplifier, a Thunderbolt 5/8 wave verticle antenna, and a 12m high Spiderbeam mast.

The antenna is by Hawkins Radio and is ideal for dx adventure as it is light weight, folds up into a small, easily transportable package and is built with rugged materials to withstand the rigors of outdoor use.

At around 8:00 GMT, we officially start the 500DA/0 activity on 27.630 MHz USB.

Despite VOACAP-11m propagation forecasts suggesting that conditions on 27 MHz would be open, the band is silent, except for the anticipated QRM (i.e. Man-made interference) since the ITU building are located on the outskirts of the city center.

We call “CQ” constantly on the international call frequency — 27.555 MHz USB — then QSY to our monitoring frequency.

There’s a spread of European stations and a small opening with South American countries, however, the skip is not favourable and log entries are difficult to come by.

Hours pass and soon our allotted radio operations time at the ITU HQ has come to an end.

The ITU guards had given us their trust but with a limited duration, so around 14:30 GMT we cease all broadcasts and dismantle the equipment, to honor this agreement.

We thank all stations who ‘played the game’ — most after hours of calling in vain.

We’re the first to regret not having been able to please the greatest number of serious Freeband DX Hunters with this activity, but that’s also the nature of HF radio, the great uncertainty.

Stations from 13 DXCC, however, feature in the log for 235DA/0 and among them are some of the 11m DX Community’s most recognizable and prolific DX Hunters.

Congratulations to these guys, commiserations to those who were unsuccessful, and a big thank you to everyone who contributed towards the realization of this dx adventure.

We look forward to achieving other “Most Wanted” dxpedition work for you in the future!

73 de Team 235DA/0 (14DA010 Stef & 14DA073 Thierry)


* Stations Logged: 33

* DXCC Worked: 13 [Italy (1), Brazil (3), Uruguay (12), Germany (13), France (14), Switzerland (15), Spain (30), Portugal (31), England (26), Denmark (47), Malta (93), Bulgaria (178), Republic of Cape Verde (205)]

* Clubs Featuring in Log: Delta-Alfa, International Radio, Romeo Charlie, Papa Alfa Tango, Bravo Golf, Delta X-ray, Alfa Tango, Sugar Delta, Echo Kilo, Lima Radio

* DA-RC Members Logged: 6 (3DA012 Roger, 3DA011 Luiz, 3DA007 Ali, 14DA073/P Thierry, 14DA010/P Stef, 14DA011 Bruno)