Spending holidays in Belgium (16 Division) during the month of June, I asked fellow Dx Adventure Radio Club (DA-RC) member 14DA028 Phil (Pictured above left) if he had some possible activations planned for the 2015 Island Festival

After some e-mail exchanges took place, we decided to put some Zeeland islands on the air and immediately launched into discussions about logistics.

An exciting IOTA DX opportunity for aspiring DX adventurers like Phil and myself (3DA012 Roger), Zealand is the westernmost province of the Netherlands (19 Division).

As indicated by the map which is pictured right, this province consists of a number of potential island DXstinations.

On Friday morning, my dxpedition comrade met me at my son’s house in Belgium where we tackled some last second logistics tasks and checked to ensure everything was intact for the stirring DX mission…cutting edge antennas, transceivers and DXcessories safely stored, technology such as laptop computers and other provisions packed, etc.

2 hours later, in the south-west of the country, we arrived in the city of Kamperland on picturesque Noord Beveland Island.

Here, we had our hotel reservation as we thought it to be the ideal centre point for any island hopping.

Flag-map_of_the_Netherlands.svgAccording to Google Maps, this charming N/V IOTA island is enclosed by the Oosterschelde estuary (a tidal basin) to the north, and the former straits, now combined lake, of Veerse Meer and Zandkreek to the south.

After a quick lunch, we took the car again to pinpoint a suitable site for our future activations.

‘If it was quiet’, ‘easy to find’ and ‘possessed good take of places to all islands’ were all primary considerations during this valuable recon mission.

Regrettably, despite our best intentions, diminutive Roggenplaat island — with its squawking population of shorebirds and visiting seals (See above) — was not possible to activate on this occasion.

Despite enjoying simple vegetation, with scanty grass and some dune thickets on the west side, the only possible space was an emergency exit near the road and, without a car antenna, it would have been inappropriate to install a dx station there.

On Saturday morning, we left in the direction of Neeltje Jan island for our first activation.

This distinctive Zealand isle is an artificial one, positioned halfway between Noord-Beveland and Schouwen-Duiveland in the Oosterschelde.

Soon the Skypper antenna was erected, the station installed and, some minutes before 07:00 UTC, we’d made our first CQ DX calls as 19DA/NJA.

Renowned IOTA Hunter 14DX181 Marc in France was first in the log (ITL) which filled slowly but steadily due to limited 27 MHz propagation at the time.

After a little bit more than 4 hours behind the mic, 75 stations were worked from 22 unique divisions. 

It was time, however, to move to Walcheren Island for 19DA/WI with the hope that propagation would improve.

Recon proved that Walcheren Island, which is roughly the shape of a rhombus, is situated at the mouth of the Scheldt estuary, between the Oosterschelde in the north and the Westerschelde in the south.

After the station installation we had to fight tooth and nail for every contact, turning the antenna from one side to the other to eventually put 50 stations in the log from 19 different countries.

It was tough work indeed but we shared the responsibility!

With no rotator to rely on, at least we got bigger muscles turning the antenna!

On Sunday morning we woke up early and trekked to a scenic inland lake near our ‘base’ on Noord Beveland Island. 

Nederland, Zeeland, Oosterschelde, 12-06-2009; Stormvloedkering tussen Noord-Beveland en Schouwen (rechts). Vlnr: werkeiland Neeltje Jans, sluitgat Schaar, werkeiland Roggenplaat en sluitgat Hammen. Links de Noordzee. In de werkhaven van Neeltje Jans de enig overgebleven pijler (reservepijler) zoals gebruikt voor de kering, op Neeltje Jans het bedieningsgebouw ir. J. W. Topshuis en Deltapark Neeltje Jans Storm surge barrier in Oosterschelde (East Scheldt), between Islands of Schouwen-Duiveland and Noord-Beveland; North Sea on the left side of the barrier. Under normal circumstances the barrier is open to allow for the tide to enter and exit. In case of high tides in combination with storm, the slides are closed Swart collectie, luchtfoto (toeslag); Swart Collection, aerial photo (additional fee required) foto Siebe Swart / photo Siebe SwartAlas the sun was still there yet the propagation wasn’t and 27.555 USB MHz was as quiet as a graveyard at midnight.

The fact we were 8m below the sea side was perhaps the reason only 23 stations where logged from this isle but we took advantage of the lull to enjoy some of the fascinating sights anyway…


Here, migratory and water birds frolicking by the water’s edge, rustling reeds and grassy dunes stood tall in the strong coastal winds, while dikes provided eye-catching panoramic views over the Veerse Meer Lake and the Oosterschelde estuary where kilometers of footpaths wound through nearby mudflats and salt marshes.

With the band quiet, we decided to leave earlier for the last island…Zuid Beeveland, determined to end our 2015 Islands Festival experience on a high note.

On the word of history books, this island was joined (together with Walcheren) to the mainland by a spectacular railway embankment in 1903 and to Noord-Beveland Island by the Delta Works.

The landscape here is dominated by dikes surrounding polders, due to recurring periods of floods and land reclamation.

SAM_8356It took us a little more time to arrive at this island dxstination due to some trouble with the GPS.

However, when we finally keyed up on the international calling frequency 27.555 MHz USB as 19DA/NBI we discovered that prop was back and 71 stations were put in the log in 02:30 UTC.

At 13.00 UTC we made our last CQ call and the final station ITL was DA-RC friend 102DA101 Sal from the Middle Eastern country of Kuwait.

EilandhoppenIt was then time to go home, and although eleven meter band conditions weren’t raging hot over the 48 hours of our dx adventure, Phil and I spent a super, sunny weekend in the field for our favourite hobby.
On behalf of 14DA028 Phil and myself, a huge thanks to everyone for calling us and congrats to those devoted Island Chasers who made the log.

73 de Roger, 3DA012