VK0EK – March 6 – April 20, 2016


Here are some very interesting “tidbits” about life aboard the Braveheart so far:

  • The team gets on the air every chance they can – (when they are not sleeping or when they are in relatively calm waters). They have encountered pretty rough seas at times, but at least its not constant
  • They turn the WSPR beacon on at intervals – it shares the same Hustler vertical as the ZL/ZS9HI/MM station
  • The team is equipped with Inmarsat, Iridium, DeLorme Inreach and of course – Ham Radio. They also have the ships comms of course. They have marine band gear for ship to shore radio when they are on island and also have 2M HTs. The team has a special antenna for the Iridium satellite gear located above deck – and so they have very reliable communications with it and Ham Radio while en route. When they are on the island – the Inmarsat BGAN’s will be used for DXA. Our comms plan is solid and working as planned
  • WSPR – we hope that we will start seeing spots from VK as they get farther away from ZS and “closer” to VK. So far all spots have been from ZS. We would love it if more hams around the world would start tracking and spotting ZS9HI on WSPRNet. It would be cool to see more spots on the map – with grid square, distance and other very useful data being posted
  • I have even received updates via the email feature built into the DeLorme Inreach unit
  • Dave said that “everything aboard the ship takes a lot longer than you would imagine” due to the rocking boat and when it makes sense to say use the radio, eat, make coffee or just “hunker down” in bunks. But he said that everyone was doing well and they now have a daily routine and rhythm
  • At 12 mph, their current expected ETA is March 21st, one week from now. When they left Cape Town they left quite late in the day, so that caused the delay. Luckily, with the Polaris ATV and the HDT Airbeam tents – and a relatively sheltered Atlas Cove, the team expects a “fast strike” setup and will try to get at least a couple stations on the air very quickly. The HDT Airbeam tents can be set up in less than 1/2 hour each. The camp site is about 1000′ away from the beach, so with an ATV and a big cart, they should do well upon landing
  • They are deploying the floats – I am still trying to get the details on that
  • The Crew of the Braveheart is fantastic and the VK0EK Team very much appreciate their camaraderie, skill and good nature. Please see this excellent blog post by Paul, N6PSE (co-leader of the recent VP8 DXpedition who also traveled on the Braveheart) regarding details aboard the ship:


  • The entire team says “hello” to their families, friends and everyone following along. They are very excited about activating Heard Island, which hasn’t been on the air for 19 years!

73, Rich KY6R

3 thoughts on “News From Dave, K3EL – Radio Team Leader and Comms Leader Adam, K2ARB

  1. Bernard says:

    With just 17 ft of wire, they can run an independent WSPR antenna for 30m.
    WSPR works amazingly well with just milliwatts of power output.


  2. Martin says:

    My pleasure to work ZL/ZS9HI/mm last nighton 40m CW!


  3. Holly says:

    Hey Dave – we are watching you from BMS! – Holly

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