*DXPEDITION REPORT* 325DA0, Rotuma Island

In September, 2023, our Dx Adventure Radio Club (DA-RC) delivered a booming dxpedition to remote Rotuma Island, a self-governing heptarchy, in the Pacific Ocean.

Technically part of Fiji, Rotuma (Pronounced “Row-too-ma”) is placed roughly 650 km west of Wallis & Futuna (210 Division) and is a similar distance from Tuvalu (276) and Fiji’s next closest island.

Importantly, 11m data bases (e.g. Clusters, Islands Base Online, DX Proofs, etc.) confirmed that this diminutive DXCC entity had not been active for more than 22 years on Freeband frequencies.

It therefore presented as an exciting opportunity indeed for serious DX Hunters in the 11m DX Community.

Here’s the DXpedition report by 43DA001 Darren who was QRV from this faraway pinch of Pacifica Paradise…

DAY 0: Sept 11

My thrilling dx adventure into the heart of Polynesia begins with a flight from Brisbane International Airport and 2 sleeps in Suva, Fiji, so that I might then connect with a flight to far-flung Rotuma on the 13th.

Located on Viti Levu Island’s south-east coast, Suva is a city of broad avenues, lush parks, and grand British colonial buildings, with a beautiful deep blue harbour dotted with boats and I’m ecstatic to be here.

The stopover in this city is an ideal time to tick-off some lastminute errands, and also enjoy some R & R before what will surely be a hectic couple of weeks behind the mic.

In this tropical Oceanic metropolis, I’m delighted to catch-up with fellow DA-RC member 99DA101 Tony (See above left) who meets me for lunch at one of the Suva cafes.

We feast on a hot lamb curry with basmati rice and moghli roti then taxi to his home in Laucala Beach Estate to chat some more and work some Pacific DX.

It’s a privilege to spend time with this guy. We share humorous radio stories and I obtain vital info about Rotuma to which 99DA101 Tony has travelled on many occasions, more recently, for ham work.

Through his extensive network, Tony expediates my 3D2R ham license too which I’m able to pick up—in person—at the Telecommunications Authority of Fiji (TAF) HQ.

My stay at the Rainforest Eco-Lodge in the Colo-i-Suva National Park is fleeting and at 5:30am local time, I’m bundled into a taxi bound for Nausori Airport, some 23 km away.

Day 1: Sept 13

Like with previous years’ travel with Fiji Airways, check-in for the flight to Rotuma at the Suva domestic airport is like butting heads with a rhino.

Poor customer service sees me challenged at every point by staff who simply don’t know their own company’s policies around baggage and international-to-domestic connections.

The end result is me being slugged with multiple fees for bulky luggage + heavy luggage + extra luggage that allegedly must be opened, examined, then re-wrapped by a member of their own staff—again at extra cost to me.

$600 AUD later, and no receipts available, has scam-sirens ringing in my head but I say nothing for fear of being scratched off the flight manifest in retaliation.

In my experience, the white man is an opportunity for a quick buck in this otherwise beautiful country. This is particularly so at airports and taxi ranks where locals are like frenzied piranhas in an Amazonian River, when a white man’s face appears on the radar.

One of the reasons Rotuma Island hasn’t been active on 11m frequencies for so many years—and is so seldom active on ham bands for that matter—is because of the difficulty which exists in gaining a permit to set foot here.

In fact, unless you have family living on Rotuma, or close ties with a resident, then your chance of visitation is next to none!

It’s no surprise then that I’m grilled by Customs personnel about the purpose of my journey there and asked to produce evidence of relationships and addresses at which I’d organized to stay.

Once this is provided, he’s happy to wave me through and I move to a small departure lounge to await the boarding call.

The flight aboard my ATR 42-600 aircraft is smooth sailing, alleviated by a couple of Fiji Gold beers that dull some of the inflammation from check-in.

Through my cabin window, panoramic island vistas below give way to an endless carpet of blue, interrupted with occasional pockets of coral reef and blinding white sand cays until we reach the dxstination some 90 minutes later.

In 2018, the grass airstrip, which was often closed due to harsh WX, was replaced by a stable concrete runway and it’s a comfy landing for the 52-seat twin propeller aircraft.

Upon disembarking, a sea of happy faces welcomes family from Fiji, and there are many inquisitive eyes on the visiting white man.

One pair is the owner of the Helava Homestay where I’ve organized to stay. After a warm greeting, Mr Varo helps me load the luggage onto his ute and we’re soon navigating dirt roads through the Malhaha District to his village.

On the way, Varo tells me that he is a former employee of the Rotuma Shipping Company, an expert in radio comms and proficient in CW.

I’m in shock when he’s able to articulate a razor-sharp knowledge of ham radio theory and operating know-how that would put even the most experienced of hams to shame.

Upon arrival at the ham friendly lodging, I’m greeted by Varo’s wife, Akanisi, and one of the local families who’ve come to deliver my Mamasa.

Word has it, this welcoming ceremony is performed for all who step foot onto Rotuma shores for the very first time. According to local belief, the Mamasa is designed to ward off evil spirits so that no harm will happen to the arrivee as he moves about the island.

Historically, the word Mamasa refers to the act of drying a wet person. I’m told it dates back to the days of Rotuman ancestors who spent many days out at sea, fishing. Upon their return to the island, the mamasa would be performed to wash away salt from their bodies. Then, to reciprocate the kindness, the fishermen would distribute their catch to the villagers.

Here, this very special ceremony is delivered by a young woman named Mela (See above left). She places upon my neck a brightly coloured tefui and I’m told to sit cross-legged on a layer of sacred paega (mats) to begin the ritual, alongside another visitor to the island.

Made from intricately woven fibers from coconut palms, the paega is said to be one of the most significant aspects of the Mamasa, along with the tefui, and the act of anointing with coconut oil. A few drops are drizzled onto my head, face, arms, and shoulders. I’m then sprayed with perfume, before a prayer is given by the land owner for my safe haven on the island.

It’s a humbling gesture indeed and I’m honored to have been granted access to this ancient tradition.

When the ritual is complete, we sit down to enjoy a traditional Rotuman feast. There are platters of vegetables such as Cassava, Taro and cabbage, fresh fruit such as papaya and bananas, delicious lamb / chicken curries, fish dishes, roti and rice.

Some 30 minutes later, with my stomach swollen and my body smelling like a flower garden, it’s time to set up the station.

I’m eternally grateful for a vast expanse of green grass leading down to the water’s edge that provides me with ample space for the installation of the NBS 10m mast and antennas.

With the assistance of Varo, the telescopic mast is guyed to various points and the 4 element Moxon is assembled, then attached to the highest point.

With no suitable vantage point for the Bushcomm SWC-100 dipole inversion, I nail a few pieces of timber together and this acts as a rudimentary mast to support the 48m long wire antenna which extends to pockets of vegetation and some outer parts of the home.

Inside, radio equipment for 2 stations is removed from packaging and placed upon a desk by the window, with a clear view of the ocean some 50m away.

ICOM IC-7300 and Yaesu FT-950 transceivers + Manson SPS-9600 and Yaesu FP-1030A power supplies are key components of the IOTA station.

2 x 25m runs of high-grade Messi & Paoloni Cable are fed into the window and leads are connected to various ports at the back of the rigs.

To complete the DX menagerie, a HP Pro-book Laptop is powered up and related docs + online resources such as logging software, beam headings, clusters and various club directories are now at my fingertips.

By 01:00 UTC, my head a molatov cocktail of thrill and trepidation, I’m primed to switch-on the transceivers and test the station.

Thankfully, everything is working as it should—1:1 SWR reading on the Moxon, adequate amperage from the supplies, and optimum barefoot power through the rigs—and we’re good to go!

After a deep breath, the FT-950 XTR delivers the first CQ on 27.555 MHz USB, and I’m soon QRV on 27.610 MHz USB as 325DA0.

Straight away, the QSO frequency is lit up by a flame of RX signals with prominent Oceania (OC) and South East Asia (AS) ops clambering for log entries.

Fellow DA-RC Member 338DA101 Jean-Marie on Ua Huka Island (OC-024) takes the first ticket and he’s followed moments later by great mates 43AT101 Steve and 43DX234 Tom on Australia’s east coast.

Stations from South America (SA) are also rampant on the QRG with ops in Venezuela (5), Uruguay (12), Panama (24), Chile (32), Paraguay (67) and Guatemala (72) all filling slots.

A highlight is a string of DA members in Brazil, with 3DA130 Mateus in Piracicaba Sao Paulo leading the charge.

Along with stations in USA (2), Mexico (10), Puerto Rico (11), Costa Rica (69), Martinique (136), St Lucia (143), Trinidad & Tobago (158) and Belize (218), intrepid dx adventurer 101DA981 Giovanni in the Papua New Guinea city of Port Moresby is a shock addition with a 5/9 signal.

Consistent with VOACAP 11 propagation forecasts, the evening hours toss up an adrenalin charged pileup of southern Europe (EU) countries, dominated by fanatical Italian DX Hunters.

At 0194 UTC, the first EU station logged for 325DA0 is 1AT152 Francesco in south-east Italy.

Divisions 18, 50 and 233 from EU also figure in the frantic after-dark action which eventually dissipates well after 1 am.

Day 2 – Sept 14, 2023

Through the glass louvres of my shack, I gaze upon majestic islands—well past coral reef teeming with stalking pelagics and a diminutive offshore wave break—a few hundred meters off the shore.

I begin the day—not long after sunrise—with caffeine, hard boiled eggs on toast and fresh fruit which is relished alongside a DX station soon purring with incoming signals.

Coffee cup in one hand, MH-31 mic in the other, I’m working simplex with the Moxon aimed eastward and drawing ops once more from NA, OC and AS.

In the morning hours, divisions 43, 79, 91, 172, 201 and others embellish the log, highlights of which include contacts with some very rare Indonesian IOTA.

In the late arvo, 115AD01 Mohamed from Doha City in Qatar checks in at 5/9, and at 05:00 UTC, European voices proliferate the band.

For the next 8 hours, I’m asphyxiated at times by a pileup of extreme on-air action which has the dxpedition well-placed on day 2 with an incredible 400+ stations ITL.

Among these, world class DX Hunters 1SR231 Giuseppe, 35AT160 Peter and 14RC011 Cedric carry the flag for major dx markets right across EU, encompassing also the Balearic Islands (49), Corsica (104) and Sardinia (165).

Day 3: Sept 15

An hour or 2 before dawn, I’m awakened by village Roosters—magnificently coloured birds with black, white, green and red feathers whose dark plumage turns a beautiful beetle green hue in the right light.

Here on Rotuma, these feathered friends crow to greet the day, crow to lead their flocks to forage, crow to cue a boundary, and crow to alert about predators. They’re also said to crow to celebrate a rising tide!

All that’s fine, but when you’re up past midnight chasing DX, an annoying alarm going off before sunrise is the last thing you want!!!!!

Minimal contacts during the daylight hours is tempered by another post-dusk DX-travaganza with more than 100 European stations logged.

Cracking signals are noted from big guns 47DX101 John in Denmark, 14DA010 Stef in France and 178AT111 Andy in the Balkans.

Rounding off day 3 is a mini pile-up with stations from the Canarias archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa.

Amazingly, Ethiopia (206), in the Horn of Africa region, is also worked via the same beam heading.

Day 4: Sept 16

Again, the band is in healthy order today with several south-east AS islands ITL. 91RDX906 Zack on the Indonesian archipelago, 155TW953 Kevin in Taiwan and 79DA383 Conrad on Luzon Island are the loudest stations.

Propagation checks using 10m beacons indicate an earlier than usual opening with EU and at 07:00 UTC I’m smacked with big signals from Serbia (45), Germany (13), Poland (161) and the kingdoms of Belgium (16) and Denmark (47).

With Sennheiser HD300 headphones planted firmly on my head, I’m slicing through a pile-up of inebriated European Hunters—all drunk on IOTA DX—using split frequency ops to decipher the calls.

Contacts with 317AT101 Andy in the eastern EU country of Belarus and later with 347EK234 Stanley on the Dutch-Caribbean Island of Curacao (SA-099) are memorable events of today’s citizens band action.

Day 5: Sept 17

Today is my first venture away from the accommodation and I take a walk around the island—a mere 47 km2 in area—for some sightseeing.

Most villages are nestled amongst clusters of coconut plantations and it’s here where I find remote Fapufa Village and the home of ex-325LD010 operator, Mr Pita.

It’s an honour to meet this guy and thank him personally for his past 11m ops in Rotuma which ended more than 20 years ago when his XTR ceased to work.

The brother of 99DA016 Tony (RIP), Pita shows me some old antennas—a 3 element Sirio yagi and 5/8 vertical—he has stored away in a front room. He also points to the spot where his mast was erected more than 2 decades ago, just a stone’s throw from the aqua blue sea on his doorstep.

The evening is emotionally charged when an opening with EU enables more than 200 contacts. Scandinavian countries are plentiful with ops in Finland (56) and Denmark (47) prominent in a catastrophic split frequency assault.

310AT101 Tom on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, 329CZ091 Jirka in the Czech Republic and 332SD101 Zoran in Macedonia are tasty log treats after a feed of seafood and taro chips earlier in the evening.

Band closure is at 1:30 am and, burdened by mental and physical fatigue, I collapse onto my bed by the open window and am asleep within seconds.

Day 6: Sept 18

Today I make a determined effort to chase Aussie stations, a neighbouring country not yet represented in the log, except for a handful of east coast big guns.

With the Moxon at 251 degrees and SW, I’m delighted when more than 50 x 43 div stations are logged from all Aussie states and territories in the afternoon hours.

Among these, via the same Azimuth heading, is 85/44ZZ in Zimbabwe in southern Africa.

At 8:00 UTC, for 30 minutes or so, the grey line once again affords opportunities to dip my DX toes into major DX markets. This fascinating propagation phenomena triggers a succession of contacts with the Middle East and southern EU as the sun flickers beneath the horizon.

When grey line conditions subside, I break for dinner with Maro and Akanisi which consists of fish, eggplant and rice with finely chopped chillies that rank amongst the hottest I’ve tasted.

My mouth on fire, I’m soon back on the air though, calling for EU via the short path.

Tell-tale squeals, bubbles and squeaks indicate the band is readying itself for an opening and I’m not left to wait long until the first European DX fiends appear on the QRG.

26AT019 Mark in the UK, 50KA001 Andrew in Russia and 31AT114 Miguel in Portugal are among them, with a contingent of Italian stations too.

CQs are interrupted only with swills of cold Fiji Bitter to douse the horrific chilli-induced flames which scorch my mouth and soon the log has smashed the 1400 barrier.

Day 7: Sept 19

From the early hours, 27 MHz is open and opportunities exist with stations in the Caribbean Sea, southeast of the Gulf of Mexico. On the island of Basse Terre (NA-102), 196DA101 Roberto is a welcomed addition to the log and 79DA027 Jotham on Negros Island (OC-129) is a solid 57.

With little DX action in the nightfall window, I spend the period catching up on admin tasks such as uploading the log to the adding to the DA website, updating the private Sponsors’ Facebook page and responding to hundreds of emails and FB messages that bombard my inbox.

I’m deeply flattered by all the kind words of support from the radio community and fascinated by the many recordings of my DX work on social media too.

Day 7, however, presents limited chances to work new stations and only a few more guys are keyed into the log.

One of these is 92KPI102 in Libya, a scarce DXCC of Northern Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea. Here, in the Maghreb region, Mr Issa is logged at 2:30 am local time.

Nothing, however, is heard from friends in EU, and with a rain squall peppering the tin roof and windows, I’m lulled to sleep.

Day 8, Sept 20

Yesterday’s solar flares continue to impact propagation across all bands and only a few stations are logged in the morning hours.

One is with the family back in Queensland. My lovely wife 43DA1112 Leonie and 11-year-old daughter 43DA1113 Olivia are logged at massive 59 signals from the home station, relishing use of the backup Dragon SS-497P XTR and Lightning L6 quad which has Rotuma in the firing line.

Later, with the transceivers humming away in the background, I use the time to kick-off the enormous task of writing postcards to more than 130 sponsors.

A ‘Most Wanted’ division in the Freeband community courtesy of a 20+ year absence on 27 MHz frequencies, guarantees its appeal to the world’s extensive population of DX Hunters, regardless of the QRG. Despite the numb hand, I’m grateful that so many guys have teamed-up to reduce the costs of quite an extensive venture.

The afternoon DX session really hots up as a Réunion Island (AF-016) station—173SD110 Frank—shatters the sound barrier with a punchy 5/9 signal.

Soon after, 113AT106 Edgar—on the southern half of the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia—is his country’s first 325 pundit.

Frenetic European stations are accessible in the later hours with notorious DX connoisseurs 47AT124 Palle, 14DA181 Marc and 29AT018 Peter among a list of 40 guys added to the log.

Day 9, Sept 21

Lured by the tantalizing scent of DX, I’m out of bed at 6 am and chasing NA stations on the lower end of the 27 MHz spectrum.

An endless pile-up of US ops on 27.365 MHz LSB, many from the World Radio Club, are logged to a soundtrack of crowing roosters outside who celebrate the new day.

After some chaotic DX work, I’m grateful when one of the villagers, Suzy, brings me a plate of Telulu for lunch. Left over from a village banquet last night, this traditional dish is made with tahroro and fish, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked on an open flame.  Combined with a few stubbies of Fiji Bitter and it’s the perfect way to experience a unique and exciting culture.

In the afternoon, from the Hawaiian Islands, 17RC739 Dayan on the island of Maui (OC-019) is an entrée to moments of anemic continental EU DX in the later hours.

During this time 14DA044 Herve and 14AT762 Didier in France, and 49SR101 Peter from the Balearic Islands archipelago east of Spain are worked.

By the end of Day 9, there are more than 1500 stations in the log from 92 DXCC!

Day 10, Sept 22

In Canada, 9VDX971 Joe on Salt Spring Island (NA-075) is one of the best parts of today’s sun-up DX work.

Belonging to the British Columbia Province IOTA group, Joe’s home QTH is one of the picturesque Gulf Islands in the Strait of Georgia between mainland British Columbia, Canada, and Vancouver Island.

The heat today is stifling, and with a large number of Americas stations already logged, I escape the shack and take a leisurely walk to Lau Village on the southern side of the island.

I spend some hours here beneath the shade of coconut palms, by the aqua blue waters, relaxing on the sand, swimming, reading and enjoying the cool sea breeze.

On the way home, I stop at a small shop known as the Blue Store (See above) and buy a Fiji Bitter to quench my thirst. Freighted on a container ship from Suva once a month, this is reportedly the only place to obtain alcohol on the island.

By the time I return home, the sun has lost its bite and the shack temperature is bearable enough to resume DX warfare.

The IC-7300 is powered up, 325DA0 is QRV and I’m stoked at 09:00 UTC when 97FDX097 Patrick from the Middle East country of Israel and 90EK101 Kostas from Heraklion city on Crete Island (EU-015) are simultaneous log entries.

With limited opportunities on 27 MHz, night time toil is a balancing act between my favourite band—11m—and others as I whet my appetite for more DX.

Sunrise ops the following morning net a superb contact with 38/47DX101 John on the world’s largest non-continental island-Greenland (NA-018).

There’s also a surprise meeting with 2DA012 Tim’s portable station in Virginia, and another 325 new one in 22RC102 Said in the Amazonia region of SA.

Day 11, Sept 23

With the laughter of women and children outside as they make the walk to school, pre-DX breakfast consists of locally baked bread, eggs collected from the island’s free-roaming chickens, and fresh pineapple juice.

Refueled, regenerated and ready for battle, I attack the band with vigor, snaring 3 new DXCC–Cuba (88), Columbia (6) and a rare one in 133 division Northern Marianas Islands (OC-086)–in the midst of around 50 stations from the Americas.

In the uncommon Luzon Coastal Islands Group (OC-244), 79HS353 Philip is logged from his waterfront home on Mindoro Island. This little-known parcel of land is found at the juncture of the South China and Sulu seas.

In the afternoon, Varo steps up to the station as 325DA007 and makes his very first 11m contacts.

He appears at ease behind the mic—a natural DX man—and we immediately put in plans for him to obtain his 3D2R license from Suva via a recognition of prior learning, and install a duel 11m/ham station upon my departure.

Despite a multi-colored VOACAP 11 prop wheel, 331TK007 Esmir in Bosnia, 14PAT931 Jerome and 30RC474 Vicente in Spain are among a trickle of EU stations worked in the evening hours.

Day 12, Sept 24

On the breakfast plate this morning is fresh papaya, and home-made guava jam on toast, with a cup of hot Rotuman coffee.

I’m told that this is a mixture of Arabica, Liberica and Robusta coffee varieties which grows freely in the forest.

Shack work today is grim.

A contact with 119AT104 Alvis on Madeira Island (AF-014) off the northwest coast of Africa, and log entries from West Indies stations in Trinidad (158) and Barbados (122) are highpoints of an otherwise quiet day on the rig.

After dawn I wander to the markets at Ahau to stock up on supplies—coffee, milk powder, fruit, biscuits and chips.

I spend time chatting with locals beneath the shade of nut bearing Hefau trees, known as the trees of life, then wander across to the hospital to meet up with my friend Ade for the very first time.

I’m grateful for her assistance with recon efforts and leave her a small gift as a show of my appreciation.

A highlight of tonight’s meal is Te Posi. This scrumptious time-honored dish consists of grated tapioca, thick lolo (coconut cream) and sugar, wrapped up in banana leaves.

After sunset, around 20 EU stations are added to the log with Polish DX Hunters 161SM032 Mark and 161TRC72 Darek conspicuous and 14DA059 Jack a solid 5/7 from his home in Maine-et-Loire.

Day 13, Sept 25

After some contacts with the Americas in the early part of the day, I’m chasing some dxpedition downtime with a trip to Sisilo Hill to visit an archaeological site known as “The Graveyard of Kings”.

An incredibly intriguing sight are 20 stone tombs which, I’m told, date back to 1824. These are hidden within overgrown vegetation, a huge Ki ne he’e ceremonial platform and Tafea Point stone walls.

Later in the day, I’m chasing a more colourful dx experience in the afternoon hours with a wave of Hawaiian stations on 27.085 AM.

Here, 17DR044 Skippy on the Big Island has the Yaesu’s digital signal reader slapping the end of the scope with a booming 5/9+++ signal.


From Central America, 69DA961 Jorge repping the distinctive Delta-Alfa callsign, also appears on the QRG.

I’m spoiled for dinner at sundown when Akanisi (Shown above) prepares a traditional fish dish called telulu. Cooked over a large piece of iron outside the shack window, it consists of tahroro (a thick sauce made from matured coconut), crushed chillies, banana leaves and breadfruit.

For dessert is a delicious sweet, gelatinous taro pudding called fekei, cooked on the same hot iron as the te posi and served in taro leaves.

Day 14, Sept 26

On the island of Borneo (OC-088), 58AT430 Mat is a highlight of the very small number of stations added to the log today.

A highpoint, instead, is a walk across the island, exploring rainforest trails, caves and freshwater swimming holes.

With the sun at its peak and its rays glistening off the surface of the turquoise waters, I enjoy the company of Varo, Akanisi and their grandchildren as we chill in the cool springs.

A 10km walk through Motusa village on the other island of the island has me scanning picturesque coastal seascapes along Mofmanu Beach between Maka and Hapmafau bays.

Here, most locals are farmers who rear pigs and goats, and grow crops. Or fishermen who wade into the shallows with fishing nets or hand lines.

Nighttime conditions on 11m are non-existent so I play around on ham bands until the clock ticks past midnight.

Day 15, Sept 27

At 5am local time, I’m up with the raucous poultry outside, meeting a guy named Isiah at Poiva Village for a boat trip out to some of the OC-060 islands and a spot of fishing.

A number of offshore islands and islets, formed by volcanic cones, are distributed around the main island and while portable IOTA DX work hasn’t been possible due to the unavailability of a power source, I’m still very eager to score a close-up view.

Soon, the boat’s aluminium hull is gliding across shallow waters as we cross the fringing coral reef towards Uea Island, just off the northwest end of the mainland.

Inhabited until the 1930s, Uea is the largest of Rotuma’s satellite islands and it’s an ominous sight indeed as we cruise up alongside its steep cliff faces.

5.6 km to the south-west, and the farthest of these far-flung chain of islets, is Hofliua (also known as Split Island).

A small, bare, rocky and cliffy islet, 58m high and giving the impression it’s been cut in half with a butcher’s cleaver, this island is an important nesting site for sea birds, in addition to being a daunting prospect indeed for any visiting dxpedition team.

Without doubt, my pick of the islands we visit today—and by far the most easily accessible for any future IOTA Dxpedition team—is Hatana.

A mixture of serene sand cay and volcanic rock, this is an idyllic morsel (Shown below) of glistening white sand and swaying coconut palms surrounded by a narrow strip of coral reef.

Considered the most sacred of the OC-060 group, and often featuring in Rotuman Creation myths, this paradisiacal island is said to be an important source of edible birds and birds’ eggs used in celebratory feasts.

Occasionally, small groups also come here on day trips to visit the burial place of Raho, a Samoan God, and picnic on the island.

Closer to shore, we cast around reef edges and shallow bombies with small lures for baitfish, then drift in deeper waters for more lucrative table fish such as Tuna, Wahoo, Giant Trevally and Spanish Mackerel.

Catching 1, often 2 or 3 fish at a time, we load up on Long Nosed Emperor in quick time until I’m overcome with a sudden bout of sea sickness.

The rolling, lurching, vomit-inducing swell of the open sea strikes me down, and after emptying the contents of my stomach into the sea several times, and enduring a period of excruciating cold sweats and giddiness, the tough Aussie DX man can survive no more.

“Take me back please!”

I survive the 1-hour ride back to the main island and am soon back at the homestay with my catch, showered, changed and feeling like a new shop-shelf toy.

After a magnificent feed of fresh fish a few low contacts with EU in the evening hours sees the log slink past the 1700 mark and it’s off to sleep at 2am, dreaming of DX.

Day 16, Sept 28

Some extraordinary sporadic-e propagation with Australia (OC-001) today revitalizes the 325DA0 log on my last day of activity.

In the p.m. hours, more than 50 ops are logged from all states and territories. Park Ranger 43DINGORADIO655 Lionel, in the Northern Territory’s Uluru National Park, is 5/5 from his 4WD vehicle, with just a 5-foot stainless whip on the bonnet and 12 watts through a Uniden PC-122 CB radio.

Experienced DX Hunter 43PR050 Joe in the NT capital, Darwin, is another unforgettable contact with my Rotuma station. For many years, Joe’s signal to the north has been a beacon for my home station in the Sunshine State, indicative of possible openings with SE AS and EU stations, so it’s great to work him for 325.

Between contacts I’m able to finish the last of my postcards and, after lunch, take them to the post office in Ahau, which doubles as a small convenience store, news agency and chemist.

Imagine the look of bewilderment on the shopkeeper’s face when I slide them onto the counter and request postage stamps!!!!

In the final few hours of my Rotuma activity, around 20 Europeans make a last minute dash for the log as a seductive sunset flickers across the horizon.

At this time, ops in Greece, Italy, Crete (93), Hungary (109) and Romania (233) are logged via the sort path and the last contact for 325DA0 is made with 18WD001.

I’m then left to wrestle with a squadron of blood-thirsty mosquitos who’ve invaded my radio room until the band eventually closes post-midnight and the Messi & Paoloni feedline is twisted from the back of the rigs.

Congratulations to every operator who made the log for this very exciting and very rewarding dx adventure.

A big thank you to the long list of guys who continue to support Dx Adventure Radio Club initiatives. Your generous financial commitment ensures that dxpedition activities of this nature continue to shape the 11m dx calendar and provide others in the 11m DX Community with opportunities to work ATNO or ‘Most Wanted’ entities

I also wish to acknowledge the incredible support of my fellow DA-RC HQ Team Members2DA120 Tom, 3DA001 Tulio and 14DA010 Stef. I thank you for your guidance, encouragement and accessibility over the various phases of the DXpedition.

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed the read!!!!

73 de Darren, 43DA001


* Stations Worked: 1761

* DXCC Worked: 107 [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, 41, 43, 44, 45, 47, 49, 50, 56, 58, 60, 62, 67, 68, 69, 72, 76, 79, 85, 88, 90, 91, 92, 93, 97, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 108, 109, 113, 115, 116, 119, 122, 132, 133, 136, 143, 153, 155, 158, 161, 163, 165, 167, 172, 173, 178, 187, 194, 196, 201, 206, 218, 223, 224, 225, 233, 302, 308, 310, 315, 317, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 338, 347, 350]

* Sponsors: 136 [1AT023 Loreto, 1AT065 Luca, 1AT90 Ivan, 1AT136 Pietro, 1AT311 Enrico, 1AT152 Francesco, 1AT519 Giuseppe, 1AT586 Franco, 1AT285 Francesco, 1AT353 Lorenzo, 1AT506 Piero, 1AT511 Gaetano, 1AT679 Lorenzo, 1AT693 Marco, 1AT746 Alex, 1AT785 Stefano, 1AT952 Max, 1DRK01 Darek, 1EK156 Mauro, 1SD010 Lukas, 1SD013 Andrea, 1SD014 Fabio, 1SR231 Giuseppe, 1ST001 Massimo, 2AT081 Aaron, 2AT949 Tony, 2AT111 Alvin, 2AT123 Hector, 3DA002 Roger, 10RS555, 13AT012 Mike, 13AT013 Sven, 13AT016 Mike, 13AT031 Martin, 13AT118 Thomas, 13AT175 Adi, 13AT242 Oliver, 13AT396 Chris, 13AT398 Hans, 13DA012 Joe, 13IR100 Stefan, 13LR200 Mike, 13AT555 Marcus, 13LR225 Jürgen, 13OT033 Frank, 13SD016 Michael, 13OT001 Mario, 14AT047 Yoann, 14AT230 Yaël, 14AT201 Farid, 14AT119 Guy, 14AT224 David, 14AT461 Ludo, 14AT941 Eric, 14DA010 Stef, 14DA017 Pat, 14DA049 Fred, 14DA026 Nicolas, 14DA073 Thierry, 14EK099 Jean-Michel, 14DX019 Chris, 16AT137 Peter, 16AT747 Marco, 18EK010 Jim, 18SR102 Eugene, 19AT112 Rob, 19AT256 Twan, 19AT515 Ron, 19AT046 Richard, 19SD104 Gene, 19SD115 Jody, 21AT140 Loic, 26AT017 Nash, 26AT077 Mike, 26AT043 Nick, 26AT028 Sean, 26AT093 Angelo, 26AT127 Paddy, 26AT325 Nigel, 26AT155Marcus, 26DX047 Darran, 26MP1305 Mark, 26SD117 Geoff, 26SR102 Rob, 30AT046 Oscar, 30AT055 Emilio, 30RC152 Manuel, 30RC555 Antonio, 30RC564 Jesús, 30SD301 Joan, 30SD666 Luis, 31PAT233 Antonio, 34AT101 Julio, 34RC213 Paco, 35AT160 Peter, 35SR159 Chris, 35SSB079 Peter, 35WR035 Frank, 41DA981 Giovanni, 43AT101 Steven, 43DA050 Geoff, 43DA225 Franko, 43DA1112 Leonie, 43IR123 Brian, 43DX234 Tom, 45CB222 Radoslav, 45VR016 Nesha, 47AT818 Johnny, 47DK034 Jens, 47DK137 Karsten, 47DX011 Finn, 47DX054 Leif, 47DX101 John, 47DX109 Jesper, 47PL122 Arne, 56AT116 Jarkko, 56LR001 Mike, 56LR007 Pasi, 56LR555 Hannu, 56SD001 Antii, 56SD106 Ville, 68AT121 Robert, 99DA101 Tony, 104AT151 Steve, 109SR101 Simon, 161AT058 Janusz, 161AT070 Tomasz, 161AT135 Sylwester, 161AT504 Martin, 161EX015 Jurek, 161EX016 Mariusz, 161SD002 Tom, 172RC161 Patrice, 178AT111 Andy & 327AT011 Martin]