*DXPEDITION REPORT* 217DA/0 Christmas Island

DAY 1: Thursday, January 1, 2015 (New Year’s Day)

43DA148 Peter and I rendezvous at the Perth International airport at 12:30, dripping with DXpedition luggage.  A man-made island of suitcases burgeoning with radio equipment, pipes of antennas and fittings, and backpacks crammed with ‘anything’ and ‘everything’ that could possibly be imagined for our dx adventure is laid out before us.

Western Australia based DXer and good mate, 43U45 Grant, has also made the trek to Perth to drop off some radio equipment for our OC-002 DX-capade and it’s awesome to meet him in the flesh. 

One of the hobby’s genuine good guys, Grant waits with us for roughly 4 hours after the original flight time is delayed by 90 minutes, and we sit and talk ‘radio’ over lunch and a coffee.  We also go through the finer details of the DXpedition Logistics Program to ensure everyone is ‘up to speed’ with what’s required.

The airport check-in is a gargantuan gut-wrencher and delivers a cruel blow to the hip pocket.  Despite purchasing an additional bag each, we’re still over the 80kg baggage allowance by 7kg and consequently slugged with a $170 AUD fee.  Ouch!  (Still, not as bad as our trip to the Solomon Islands for 135DA/0 when we were hit with a $500 AUD fee both ways).

On board now and for almost 60 minutes, our Virgin Blue A320 Jet tracks the hundreds of km of coconut draped coastline of Northern WA, before slicing off towards our secreted DXstination in the Indian Ocean some 2600km north-west of Perth, 975km east-north-east of Cocos (Keeling) Islands and 360km south of Java on the rim of south-east Asia.

Fortunately, the 4 hour flight is a smooth one and we’re soon standing on the tarmac of an airport – precariously placed atop the tip of a 60 million-year-old volcano – of one of Australia’s remote, external territories in pleasant 28 °c temperature.

Through Customs and an Australian Federal Police (AFP) checkpoint, strangely, there’s no sign of our contact person from the Christmas Island Tourism Authority.  Instead, we wait outside the airport for over an hour like two shags on a rock, wondering how the hell we’ll get to our accommodation and, once there, how the hell we’ll get inside with no keys.

Some sweet talking by Pete, though, nabs us a lift to our ham friendly lodgings in ‘The Settlement’, one of two main villages on the island.  The drive with 2 of the island’s volunteer firemen takes us approximately 15 minutes and we sit back and admire the incredible sights of this rugged, remote community along the way.

As well as wild chickens, the gravel road is littered with the island’s famous red crabs returning from the annual migration to the sea and we have to swerve on countless occasions to miss them.  To run over one will incur a hefty $5000 fine and the roaming crustaceans meander with a ‘cocky’ like freedom as if they know they’re a protected species. 

“Run me over if you dare, DX Man!”

With daylight fading fast, we soon arrive at our accommodation.  The DX Epicentre, named ‘The Captain’s Last Resort’, is a renowned ‘ham friendly’ cottage clinging to rocks on the edge of the ocean, and the fact it was once the island’s morgue, doesn’t spook us a bit.

As suspected, the view from the balcony here is breathtaking with nothing but beautiful blue ocean stretching as far as the eye can see.  Our shack is so close to the water, in fact, we can almost lean over the balcony and touch it.  The only problem is we can’t get inside to set up the station!!!!!!!

90 minutes later, after some frantic phone calls, one of the island’s Malay domestics arrive with a key to let us in.  She’s apologetic on behalf of the owner whom it seems has “got her days mixed up!”

At 20:00 local time, with a salty sea breeze sweeping straight off the ocean’s surface, we commence our station installation.  In total darkness now, the task of negotiating the thick vegetation surrounding our quarters and erecting the super-station though is deemed too difficult so the IMAX 2000 is quickly assembled, fixed to a 3m section of mast and heaved into the sky.

At 21:15 we switch on a cb radio and begin testing Standing Wave Ratio (SWR) and TX power with a REVEX W-540 meter, up and down the band.  This is always an anxious few moments for any DXpedition team with fears of equipment being damaged during transit (or ‘sabotaged’ as was the case with our recent Timor Leste DXpedition) always lingering.

Great news is that the Solarcon vertical is working efficiently with an SWR reading of 1.1 and we’re ready to go.  The band appears open too with tell-tale harmonics and propagation licks right across the band.

By now the excitement is suffocating and we’re champing at the bit to make some calls! 

With the sound of waves crashing into rocks outside our window, Peter is first on the mic and me on the computer log, with our first CQ call as 217DA/0 Christmas Island made on 27.385 MHz USB. 

With news of our special operating frequency and approximate starting time shared only with sponsors, we hope to have a few ops monitoring the frequency and waiting for our opening transmissions. We’re not disappointed either! 

Straight away, my fellow dx adventurist is swamped by DX Hunters with 34AT151 in the Canary Islands (AF) receiving the prestigious honour of being first in the log with a steady 5/5 report.  This triggers a pile-up of EU stations through which Peter works with all the precision of a Hollywood plastic surgeon. 

Italy (1), France (14) and Spain (30) are the dominant DXCC logged and the long path also provides an opportunity to work a handful of stations from the Caribbean Sea; Martinique (136), Guadeloupe (196), Grenada (195) and Saint Martin (207) islands, just to name a few.  Signals are relatively weak but after 2 hours of heavy duty DX, we have exactly 150 stations in the log from 33 DXCC.  Not a bad start from OC-002!  

Delta-Alfa members worked this evening include: 104DA102 Syl, 104DA101 Roy, 14DA049 Fred, 14DA007 Chris, 79DA103 Choi, 102DA101 Sal and 1DA046 Michele.

DAY 2:  Friday, January 2, 2015

After a 3 hour sleep, our team keys up again.  However, despite many CQ calls, this time on the Kenwood TS-570s, only a handful of stations are logged, albeit from a number of new Oceania DXCC; New Caledonia (172), Japan (25) and Eastern Kiribati (266).

IOTA station 266AT/OC-024 is active from the Pacific version of Christmas Island and we’re delighted when Tim drops by to say hello from the tiny atoll.  “2 x Christmas islands active at the same time MUST be a first for any band!” agrees our DXpedition mate from New Zealand.  

After providing some wonderful service, the vertical is lowered at 11:00 local time and the 10m NBS mast is erected and guyed with three sets of 4 sand pegs at 90° angles.  Bright pink coloured ties on each of the guy ropes are used to deliver a visual warning to any unlikely pedestrians who might wander up from the rocks below.

On top of the mast is mounted a 4 element Moxon antenna, designed by fellow DA-RC member 30DA016 Dave.  Weighing only 4kg, this extraordinarily light-weight antenna, comprising wire and fibreglass spreaders, is given second crack at the pileups which we pray will soon be rattling through our headphones.

After that, 15 meters of low-loss LMR feedline is negotiated through balcony lattice and taken in through the shack’s front door to twin transceivers, shouldering other DX-cessories such as power supplies, microphones, a DELL lap-top computer, 350 watt amplifier, testing equipment, etc. on the nominated radio table.

Using a military grade compass as a guide, direction points (North, South, East & West) are then spray painted in fluorescent pink at base of the mast.  This will save having to take the compass out when adjusting beam headings!

Mid-morning, with the band in a lull and few ops available to test out the antenna’s capability, we take the opportunity to walk down to some of the local shops to purchase some items for sponsors; postcards, fridge magnets, stamps and a collection of other exciting souvenirs.


Situated by the water, a small restaurant named Rummah Tinngi which caters mostly for Government workers, provides refuge from the hot tropical sun and we sit down a while for a cold drink and a barra hamburger, our first real meal since arriving on the island.

20150108_161347$18 AUD for a hamburger…SHOCKING…but worth every bite!

Before heading back to the shack, we grab some beers and snacks to enjoy during the pileups (waxed sausages and dried mango), baulking momentarily at the inflated prices being demanded, before continuing on our merry way.

Upon our return to the DX Epicentre, Pete monitors the band again while I locate an internet Wi-Fi spot at nearby Sea Spray Hotel to complete some essential admin tasks.

PMC_6662Once connected, I’m not surprised to discover 79 emails in my inbox which have arrived overnight, making it more than a 1000 RX for this DXpedition so far.  Log and callsign checks, sponsorship and sked requests, comments/feedback and much more from the world’s passionate DX Hunters are on the offering!

After responding to the majority of those, the log is uploaded and some photographs of the station and Pete on the mic are uploaded to the private Facebook group.  These are sure to be well received by the 50+ sponsors allocated this unique privilege!

Darren and PeteDodging hostile red crabs, I return to the shack after roughly 1 hour to find my busy DXpedition team mate dissecting another huge pile-up.  With ominous Naval vessels patrolling the waters directly off our balcony, 500+ stations are worked in what‘ll be remembered as the most enduring DX session I’ve ever experienced, first with EU and AF and then with minute Caribbean countries via the long path (LP).

Surprising?  Not really!

Named by British Captain William Mynors, who landed here on December 25, 1643, this far-flung island dxstination hasn’t been active on the 11m band for some 15 years – so it’s not unexpected at all the extreme excitement our presence here has generated.  It is, however, a very special hobby experience indeed and one we’re extremely grateful for!

Contacts with Cyprus (110), Madeira Island (119), Ceuta & Melilla(106), Togo Republic (164), Azores Islands (75) and Israel (97) are momentous additions to the log, on top of a number of DA-RC members logged also; 3DA012 Roger, 153DA012 Andre, 43DA162 Brett, 43DA050 Jeff, 43DA067 Rob, 30DA016 Dave and 14DA028 Phil.

Thanks for another great day from Pulu Kristmas!


DAY 3:  January 3, 2015

Tuntitledhe sun rising in the east reveals a bay shrouded in mist, reminiscent of an eerie thriller film.  As the minutes tick by, and with the rig humming a way in the background, soon the wispy white miasma subsides exposing the ocean’s deep royal blue hues.

An exhausting evening on the radio in which 500 stations + were logged has us feeling lethargic but any thoughts of self-pity rapidly dissipate when we realise the band is opening to the Americas via the short path.  A quick check of relevent 10m beacons allows us to pinpoint appropriate beam headings and we’re under way.

Exploiting the excellent yagi take-offs from our seaside QTH, and again the murderous Moxon executes everything in its path with stations worked from Canada (9), USA (2), Brazil (3), Uruguay (12), Panama (24), Mexico (10) and Alaska (33) through a daybreak pile-up of epic proportions.

20150103_144928A scattering of AS operators burst through the five-nine-frenzy also with Japan (25), Thailand (153), Taiwan Island (155) and Asiatic Russia (302) recorded.  In just a 30 minute window we’ve logged 100 stations with an impressive strike rate of 3, often 4, contacts per minute.

Mid-morning, with the band stilling on all paths, and in desperate need of some DXpedition down-time, we close the station, hire a dodgy 4WD and take a drive around the isle.  As the car splutters along the bumpy roads, its air-con on life-support and its brakes emitting an unnerving screech at every pot hole, palls of phosphorus-laden dust settles on its windscreen ensuring the windscreen wipers are locked in overdrive.

After a while, we arrive at a road sign bearing the word “GROTTO” at which time we park the car and don our Japanese riding boots (i.e. thongs) for the journey.  If the pictures we’d seen in recon efforts are anything to go by, this place will be amazing…?!?!?!?!?!

And of course it’s just that – one of the most incredible natural wonders we’ve ever laid eyes on!

In short, the Grotto is a cave hacked out of the island’s rugged coastline by a millennia of restless seas.  Imagine a 5m2 tidal pool of crystal clear turquoise water, buried deep within a rocky scarp, surrounded on all sides by rainforest.  This is The Grotto! 

Local legend has it that this mysterious hollow, some 20m from the sea, is home to an ancient dragon, which swam out from Asia at the end of the 19th Century.  When it finally reached Christmas Island, lost and wearied, the mythical beast swam into a cave to recuperate and has remained here ever since!

As we lower ourselves down a rope, over numerous red crabs and towards the jaws of the cave, we look up towards the roof where we can make out the unmistakeable shape of the neck and head of a dragon – complete with claws. 


Incredible!  Unforgettable!

20150103_124156On the way back to ‘Settlement’, we stop off at Seaspray again to upload a number of documents and images to our Delta-Alfa website and Facebook groups.  An updated log and DX Adventure Diary are among the tasks undertaken, with another 50 emails to be worked through also in what I refer to as the ‘hidden accountabilities’ of DXpedition work.

Upon our return to the shack, we’re slapped in the face with a wall of white EU noise, of 5/9+20dB signals on every KHz of a 10 KHz split.  Scandinavia, the United Kingdom (UK) and more, are pumping through alongside mega DX markets…France (14), Italy (1) and Spain (30).  The Grey-Line DX work is challenging indeed and managing the pileup proves difficult on occasions when some ops ‘lose their ears’.

***On this note, a more disciplined approach to listening to the DXpedition Team and calling at appropriate times during simplex and split modes is required to ensure the pile-up runs smoothly, thanks guys.***      

8 gruelling hours later, with propagation easing, the log sits on 1300+ contacts with 67DXCC – a fair effort in just 48 hours of mono-band operation in anyone’s DXpedition handbook. More to come?

Delta-Alfa members logged in the past 24 hours include: 68DA101 Joe, 69DA090 Richard, 26DA007 Mark, 14DA007 Chris, 14DA027 Jean-Marc, 14DA016 Rodolphe, 14DA033 Laurent and 13DA110 Uli as well as the super exciting 501DA/DX activity which we’re excited to have worked also.


DAY 4:  Sunday, January 4, 2015

20150104_125948After a few hours’ shut-eye following the customary earbashing by EU stations in the wee hours of the morning, our DA-RC DXpedition Team is active again well before sunrise listening via the short path for OC and SA on 27.570 MHz USB.

Stations in Costa Rica (69), Martinique Island (136), Jamaica (23), Panama (24), French Guyana (22), Brazil (3) and Venezuela (5) are logged during sporadic periods of readable signals.

Outside, the temperature today is stifling so, towels in hand, we close the station and go looking for a swim on one of Christmas Island’s secluded beaches.

PMC_7098Around 30 minutes’ drive from Settlement and then a walk through thick tropical rainforest, Dolly Beach is said, by locals, to be the most secluded on the island.

The stories are correct too!

After a cautious drive down a bumpy 4WD track, made all the slower by the need to dodge thousands more of the ubiquitous red crabs returning from their annual migration, we stumble upon the initial stages of a 2.5km (more like 5km) walking track.  It appears the rest of the way will be on foot though which has Pete muttering to himself the whole way there hihi!

Deep in the tropical rainforest now, the air is thick with intense humidity and mosquitos swarm like squadrons of WWII Japanese bombers around our sweaty bodies.

The final 500m of our 5km trek winds through thick stands of pandanus palms, their spiky leaves harmless if we push through them instead of hold them to the side, and eventually we come to a clearing where thick opressive jungle meets tranquil blue sea in the Island’s ultimate paradox.


When we finally set foot on Dolly’s palm-studded sands, it turns out to be one of those isolated beaches you might only dream of.  Before us are shallow rock pools glistening in the sunlight and a white sandy beach with tracks of nesting adult marine turtles and of emerging hatchlings amongst the drifted logs, coconuts and other debris; all surrounded by overhanging coconut palms.  Pure heaven!


Apparently, back in 1855, five Dutch castaways swam ashore here and weren’t rescued until a full year had passed.  As we splash our way into a natural rock spa teeming with small fish, I wonder WHY in the world they would’ve wanted to be rescued though as this place is a PARADISE!

20150107_182826Back on the mic mid-afternoon and a light sea breeze touches our slightly sunburned faces while a flock of frigate birds return late to their roosts, squawking loudly overhead.  At this time, 177LD/DX from Sri Lanka, 113IGQ107 from West Malaysia, 57TFC437 Stuart in India, 99JDW109 Trevor on Fiji’s Viti Levu Island and mobile station 115KPI115/M in Turkey are stations of interest logged by our DXpedition Team.

Of the 1300+ stations logged so far, Delta-Alfa members logged today include 14DA911 Eric, 43DA225 Frank, 13DA121 Ralf and 19DA109 Marcel.


DAY 5:  Monday, January 5, 2015

PMC_6687A sleepy morning of DX and only a handful of contacts with NA, SA and AS to show for a few hours of constant pre-dawn “CQ DX” calls is discontinued by a visit again to the local supermarket to stock-up on supplies; fresh water, coffee, bread, toiletries, noodles and, of course, more beer.

Our journey by vehicle also takes us past the monstrous phosphates pier, one of the island’s most commonly photographed scapes and the obvious focal-point of the island’s main beach.

20150106_170330After this, we venture to the far end of Flying Fish Cove and, climbing by foot to a look-out high above sea, are dazzled by postcard-perfect views more likely seen in a Mediterranean Sea tourist brochure.

The Cove is an intoxicating paradise of blues and greens, with intermittent splotches of tired pre and post-war housing, intricate Buddhist temples with classic stone statues and other basic infrastructure.

Behind us is also remnants of an old World War II fortification, concrete memories of the Japanese occupation of the island in 1945.  Here, bunkers and a well-preserved cannon provoke memories of the outstanding bravery displayed by Aussie diggers who, according to the plaque on display, “refused to surrender in the face of overwhelming force and were killed near this place…in the defence of Christmas Island in 1942.”


After a feed of fresh prawns and chips at the Golden Bosun Tavern – or simply “the pub”, as it’s called by the “The Settlement” locals, we rev up the engine of our spluttering car and motor along the island’s major highway – a strip of dirt flanked by tropical jungle – to explore three of the walking tracks on the west coast.


PMC_6985One track takes us through a pandanus tunnel to a hidden blowhole, while another leads over pumice stone fields to a steep cliff face where craggy, volcanic pinnacles meet the crashing ocean.  Soaring above these cliffs is a veritable menagerie of sea birds, all with eyes fixed on the rugged terrain below for a possible meal.

Tiptoeing through the sharp pinnacles and dodging football-sized robber crabs – another of the island’s 33 total crab species – we’re delighted to find a cuddly ball of white fluff tucked away in a nest of pandanus: a tiny Silver Bosun chick, one of two species of tropicbirds that have made Christmas Island their home.

A few footsteps further along we eye a brown-footed booby feeding its young, seemingly oblivious to our excited voyeurism. We’d stumbled into a twitcher’s paradise (the birdwatchers’ equivalent of a tick-tourist) and after thousands of years of isolation, our feathered friends here don’t seem scared of humans in the slightest.

After retracing our steps, we head down the third and final track – as it turns out, saving the best for last.  We meander our way through an enchanted forest of giant Tahitian chestnuts, eventually reaching a spring, where fresh water bubbles from a limestone cave before cascading over a rock ledge inlaid with an intricate pattern of moss.

PMC_6928Some of the island’s Chinese population believe this waterfall to be the centre of the Earth’s water universe and while we’re no expert on Feng Shui, it’s definitely one of the prettiest waterfalls we’ve ever set eyes upon.

Back at the shack a few hours later and the band soon opens to the Australian mainland where a ‘rare’ pileup is piloted through of Aussies on 27.385 MHz LSB.  Ops in Western Australia, Queensland, Northern Territory and Victoria are noted.

After a sprinkling of south-east Asia ops such as 79DA027 Jotham on Cebu Island (OC-129) and 100AT1010 Mark in South Korea, EU is in again at 1554 local time and by the end of the day we’ve added another 301 contacts to the log, making it 1700+ stations logged so far.

A wicked rain storm with strong winds has foam-capped mountains crashing onto the rock embankment outside our shack, confining us to our accommodation.  So there’s nothing left to do but sip on some cold beers and monitor the rig which purrs away in the background like one of the island’s resident feral cats.


Day 6:  Tuesday, January 6, 2015

PMC_6862In addition to American countries, DXCC targets are New Zealand (41), French Polynesia (201) and Hawaii (17) which don’t yet feature in the log.

Despite our best efforts, however, pathways again are not conducive for working the Americas with only a few stations logged from Canada (9), Alaska (33), Paraguay (12) and Brazil (3) in the early UTC hours.

The strongest signal is from 9LD505 Dwayne who’s thumping into the red againfrom his home in Alberta Canada, with 33SD001 Larry in Alaska and 172AT114 Yves on New Caledonia’s Grande Terre Island a solid 5/7 at 10:47 local time.

Unfortunately, VOCAP propagation forecasts predicted as much but we’re still hopeful of some more significant opportunities in the coming days to fatten up the log.

Today, the itinerary has us sightseeing at Lilly Beach and we’re soon climbing out of the 4WD with armed with cameras and swimming attire, to be met with angelic aqua waves caressing the bases of surrounding cliffs.

Unlike Dolly Beach, this is said to be a ‘keyhole beach’ as it cuts into sheer cliff on either side.  There’s a gazebo here with table and chairs – the perfect place for a picnic lunch – where we place our belongings and then walk down to a large sandy bottomed rock pool to ‘chillax’.


PMC_6952Later, a boardwalk along the cliff edge between Lilly Beach and Ethel Beach provides us with a look at a variety of birds including Brown Boobys and Red Footed Boobys nesting on the cliffs overlooking the ocean.  Their unremitting squawks are interrupted only by the sudden hiss of silver spray which jets up into the sky from blow holes nearby.

We watch, captivated, as ravenous frigate birds catapult themselves into the swirling currents around us, their aerobatic antics achieving mouthfuls of baitfish with almost every swoop.

Back at the DX Epicentre a couple of hours later, an opening with Australia in the afternoon has us clambering for the headphones. On 27.385 MHz LSB, weak signals from Australia based operators barely register on the signal meter while on 27.275 MHz USB our dx adventure team finds delight in the antics of a singing taxi driver on the South African calling frequency.

What a hoot!

20150109_125508Evening time and we’re combining pile-ups with some of my scrumptious home-cooked bacon and hot chilli sandwiches.  Sadly, Pete’s work on the mic is cut short by the furious forest fire in his mouth; his eardrum shattering shrieks of chili-induced pain slicing through the thick humidity outside, leaving his team mate (i.e. me) choking with laughter.

While my crab-kissing-companion doesn’t appreciate my sublime efforts in the kitchen, though, he’s glad I can step up to the mic for the next five or so hours to work through one of the biggest EU pileups known to mankind!

DA-RCies 14DA051 Chris, 69DA090 Joe and 14DA041 Jean-Claude romp in at solid 5/9++ signals, while contacts with 151LR/AD in Iraq, 315RA010 in Ukraine, 305AT048 in Franz Josef Land and 122SD103 in Barbados via the LP are of particular interest to our Team.

There are currently 2041 stations in the log, from 87 DXCC – not too bad for an 11m activation – but there are certainly more goals to achieve in the coming days and lots more hard work to be done.


DAY 7: Wednesday, January 7, 2015

PMC_6662Pre-sunrise the band is buzzing with SA which sees a large number of stations logged, most of which originate from Uruguay (12), Chile (32) and Brazil (3).

3AT086 Eduardo, 12DX180 Gab and 32OD100 from the Oscar Delta DX group in Chile are the most voluble stations of the group with solid 5/7-9 exchanges.

When signals dwindle and the band moves into its typical mid-morning siesta, we take to the gravel road outside the Captain’s Last Resort and head for the beach at Kampong.

With sweat dripping into our eyes thanks to sweltering 40 degree temps, we gaze upwards to a massive caldera of sheer cliffs festooned with lush OC-002 jungle.  Boobies flirt with the updrafts, their silhouettes becoming clearer as they fly from the dark green of the ancient forest, partly obscuring timeworn wooden crosses of a Malay cemetery, and up into the endless blue sky.

12Snorkels and goggles in hand, however, we’re soon splashing into warm waters (around 30°C) of a coral beach and it’s like entering an underwater Garden of Eden.  The visibility amazing, we spy on a myriad of intensely coloured tropical fish such as parrots, banner, damsels, wrasse, butterfly, angels, surgeons, fusiliers, triggers and many more.  Marine crabs, huge mantis shrimp, lobster secreting amongst the coral, an elusive leopard eel and an incredible Hawksbill turtle are treasured highlights also as we cruise the shallows only metres from a sudden 3km Indian Ocean drop off.

We marvel at the natural phenomena of millions of baby crabs that have carpeted the beach; commencing their 9 day march in land.  Here, they’ll disappear, in rocky outcrops or under fallen tree branches and debris on the dark forest floor for the first 3 years of their life.

It’s another unforgettable experience for our DXpedition Team in the Kingdom of the Red Crab, the ‘Galapagos’ of the Indian Ocean!


Back to the radio cabin, we get our teeth into some serious DX pile-ups, taking the tally up to a whopping 2084 contacts.  With most of the EU big guns logged already, those operators with more basic stations, or ‘small pistols’ as they’re sometimes called, are able to have their shot at a “New One”.

One of our most DX-traordinary contacts to date is with 13LS001 Zeljko at 1222 UTC in western-central EU.  Our German friend works us with a President Lincoln transceiver punching out 40 watts and an indoor antenna of 1.3m installed in one of the country’s universities where he works.  Incredible!

165TDT001 Efi from his home on Sardinia Island (EU-024) in the Mediterranean Sea rounds off the log, bringing an end to another amazing day on the island.


DAY 8: Thursday, January 8, 2015

We’re active once more in the early hours of the morning, with EU pile-ups buzzing through our headphones.  A contact with 93TRC108 Jesmond on Gozo, an island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, is one of 100 or so stations worked at this time in yet another exhaustive session of 11m telephony.

We wake today to the news that another boat of asylum seekers – reportedly carrying Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka – is being ushered into Christmas Island waters.  We watch from our balcony as the morning sun flickers on the eastern horizon and a 50 odd foot long white hulled fishing vessel, teeming with refugees and presumably battered by heavy winds, waves, and rain, is guided past the phosphorous processing plant off Kampong flanked by an ominous Australian Navy vessel on one side.


Their fate at the infamous Detention Centre on the far side of the island is anyone’s guess but we wish them well.

20150108_145039-1After another meagre breakfast of DX we journey along a coastal path to Margret Knoll, a hilltop lookout overlooking tangled rainforest canopies and blue ocean parquet on the eastern side of the island.

Here we see golden bosuns and rare frigatebirds soaring on the ocean breezes.

Further along, the terraced cliffs encircling our rugged DXstination are studded with white dots: colonies of nesting red-footed boobies oblivious to the dx adventurers whom have appeared as uninvited guests at their exclusive cliff-top penthouse.

2Back on the radio in the afternoon chasing Kiribati Islands’ operators on 27.335 MHz USB and we’re surprised to hear a knock at the door.  A young police officer presents us with papers from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (AC.M.A.) (or ‘radio police’ as they’re known in some circles) demanding we cease ‘out of band’ transmissions immediately.

He’s genuinely apologetic and, perhaps a little embarrassed to be intruding on something which is, obvious to him, just a couple of guys on holiday doing what they love.  He explains that the A.C.M.A. know who we are, and what our plans are for Cocos Keeling, including where we’ll be staying on the island, that they’ve been reading this very diary, have downloaded articles from the Delta-Alfa website, have recordings, Cluster dk print outs, etc. etc.

0Straight away we’re overcome with a variety of emotions; confusion, anxiety, sadness, anger and then disgust.

To learn the extent certain representatives of the A.C.M.A. will go to intervene in a hobby activity which is so very ‘positive’ on so many levels, is not only a gross misuse of government resources, but a disgusting waste of tax payer’s money as well.  All in the way of spite, under the guise of spectrum management!

What a joke is this division of the A.C.M.A., infiltrated by a small number of hams using the Authority’s resources for a VK inspired witch-hunt of passionate and highly motivated radio hobbyists who do not conform fully to the arrogant and egocentric landscape that is ham radio in Australia; hobbyists who choose to chase DX a mere 200 KHz above the citizens band allocation in a tiny unused portion of the spectrum.

Is this the reason why amateur radio is seen by so many current and ‘potential’ hams, as becoming outdated; one which is governed by tyrannical dinosaurs who, instead of reaching out to potential hams to enrich their dying hobby do nothing but bully and intimidate and stomp the love of radio communications out of them?

You be the judge.

Thank you to the thousands of emails of support we have received from members of the international 11m DX Community, both hams and non-hams, since this announcement was made.  It is proof the spirit of 11m DX is alive and strong and one which will no doubt continue to flourish in the years to come.

Thanks for reading our Christmas Island DX Adventure diary.  We trust you’ve enjoyed the armchair ride, just as much as we’ve enjoyed sharing our experiences with you.

Until our next exciting CB DX adventure…

Darren, 217DA0 Team Representative