On Thursday May 30, after the arrival of friend 14IR181 Marc late in the afternoon, we loaded the car and made off for North Brittany for our special EU-074 / Manche (MA) Islands Tour.

Along the way, we made the decision to stop on the site of Nantes — a city on the Loire River in the Upper Brittany region of western France — for some inland water island (IWI) activity.

This was a welcome break for Marc, who’d just driven for 4 hours, and allowed him to take some strength by eating a little while we played radio.

Unfortunately there was not much spread at this late hour, just a few birds.

We stayed until midnight on the IWI then decided to pack-up the equipment and leave for the direction of North Brittany, a hilly peninsula extending out toward the Atlantic Ocean.

Friday morning we arrived at the meeting place with 14IR161 Gui, improvised a quick breakfast and began to prepare the station material while waiting.

Upon his arrival we took the direction of Saint Riom Island (MA-45) to deposit the surplus equipment and left in the direction of Lemenez Island (MA-44) and Mez De Goelo Island (MA-43) which was not planned, but seeing that access was possible we didn’t hesitate.

Late in the afternoon we returned to the base camp on Saint Riom to take stock of the day and pack up the antennas installation.

We spent the night quietly, fatigued from the road and the sleepless nights on the first day.

We’d achieved about fifty contacts on each island and, despite a fairly difficult spread, we had a good time and as a bonus the sun was out so we came back all colourful.

On Saturday, after a short night and feeling well rested, we left again in the direction of Blanche Island (MA-122) and Roch Ar Mennou (MA-121).

181 Marc stayed to work DX from Roch Ar Mennou Island as 14IR/MA-121 and I took the direction with 161 Gui to Blanche where we mounted the antennas and station with a perfect view of the water nearby.

Our first CQ calls as 14DA/MA-122 on the International Call Frequency 27.555 MHz USB were made in nice WX again and resulted in about fifty more stations ITL so the pleasure was still there.

Waiting for the tide, we folded all the material for the repatriation on the boat which handled well across the water throughout the weekend.

It was tough relocating all the portable equipment but the motivation was still there and we returned to the base camp on Saint Riom to take some strength by eating a little bit and rattle the CQ DX.

Back on the island we enjoyed some sporadic 11m propagation and the log for 14DA/MA-045 advanced slowly but surely while we enjoyed the place and beautiful parts of Rigo lade with radio friends.

On the Sunday morning, we took some lovely pictures of the landscapes and station for the DA-RC website, the QSL card and PROOFS for HQ.

The motivation was still there to chase DX and the fatigue also. 

We started to repatriate a little bit of material back to the mainland as the time of our scheduled departure was close.

We maintained an on-air presence with the QRZ 14DA/MA-045 on our QSY frequency until the last minute, then the fateful hour had arrived and the time to fold all the equipment was upon us.

On the last crossing with equipment in tow, a wicked storm broke and gusts of wind whipped up the water which made for a bumpy boat ride.

We arrived safely though without having taken too much rain on board and after saying goodbye again we resumed the direction of our respective homes.

There was a nice balance of sporadic propagation for these series of DIFM activations and the Island Hunters were rewarded.

The WX too was pleasant, despite the storm which threatened to toss us from the vessel on the final day.

It was a special experience to do this activity with a good band of friends from the International Radio Club (IR).

The pleasure is still there for serious dx adventure like this — despite the capricious spread of DX at the moment — but we don’t lose anything trying and we will all go back to remake something together in the future.

Thank you to all IOTA Hunters who called and/or tried to listen to us.  Hopefully on the next activities we’ll be able to listen again.

All QSL management for these Bretagne (Cotes-d’Armor Centre) Region group and Manche (MA) activities will be done by 14IR181.

This includes the DA-RC activations on different QSL cards and 1 special Multi-group QSL.

Please QSL via:

Marc Renaud
31 Ter le Mery
23000 la Sauniere France

73 de Fred, 14DA049