VK0EK – March 6 – April 20, 2016


The back and front . . . 


The inside with QSO label area . . .


The logo insert / leaflet


The opposite side of the logo insert / leaflet

This is the DIRECT QSL, and it is the deluxe QSL card. They will start going out in June. The bureau cards are two sided and have the front picture and the logo’s on the back. They will go out after the direct cards.

We want to thank Tim, MU0RX and Max, ON5UR for just the best service on all QSL aspects that you could imagine. What a joy it has been to work with them!

Expedition Organizer and Leader Robert Schmieder KK6EK on Heard Island. Behind him are a large bay and glaciers, lying in view from the VKØEK campsite.  Image credit: Bill Mitchell.

Expedition Organizer and Leader Robert Schmieder KK6EK on Heard Island. Behind him are a large bay and glaciers, lying in view from the VKØEK campsite. Image credit: Bill Mitchell.

May 5, 2016. You probably know most of the news already: We sailed from Cape Town on schedule (March 10), and arrived at Heard Island March 22, after a rather rough, and long, ride on the Braveheart. The next day we began transporting our gear and the team to the island, and setting up our camp. In less than 15 hours, we went on the air and started logging contacts, displaying them in nearly real-time on our special graphic online log DXA.

Over the next 20 days we erected the full set of antennas, and worked into a routine of activities. Most of the team worked the pile-ups, logging around 4000 contact each day with up to six stations. Two team members were there to explore the island, document glacier retreat, collect samples of the rocks, soil, and water, and provide additional manpower for the myriad tasks such as filling generators, repairing equipment, and transporting our supplies from the beach (about 500 m away). The Braveheart crew made extraordinary effort, supplying us with food and transporting the field scientists to remote parts of the island.

Finally, on April 11, a month after we left South Africa, we struck camp and beat a retreat as winter weather began closing in on us. The entire campsite was dismantled and transported to the Braveheart in less than 9 hours, and as is our requirement, we left the campsite completely clean. Altogether we accumulated 75,000 radio contacts, about 50 rock specimens, about 20 soil samples, and about 15 glacial water samples. The team also came back with 450 GB of photographs.

Thanks to our Inmarsat BGAN terminals, we had a reasonably fast connection to the internet, and we were able to carry on extensive communications with family, the support team, and many individual DXers and scientists. Much of our effort was made possible by the extensive and innovative support teams: The Diablo Dxers organized and led by so-Organizer Rich Holoch KY6R, by souvenir manager Manny Rodriguez K4MSR, and by support teams in Cape Town (Paul ZS1S) and Perth (Keith VK6RK). In particular, the extensive outreach via social media, implemented by the Diablo DXers, clearly was a major advance, and (we hope!) represents a new standard for future DXpeditions.

Although there was the usual interference and criticism of the VKØEK operation, and we were not able to obtain the number of QSOs and hydro-bio-geological specimens we had hoped due to the extremely challenging weather and disappointedly poor radio propagation, we are quite happy with the operation, and hope you agree it was worth the effort and the support. For all of you who did support us financially and in other ways, thanks you so much. All of us, and all of you, can say:

“I helped make it happen!”

We’ll soon be presenting more details of the Heard Island Expedition, and we invite your continued interest and interactions.



Sun sets on Carlos (NP4IW) and the Braveheart as it nears Fremantle.  Image credit: Bill Mitchell (AE0EE)

A week ago, the Braveheart arrived at port in Fremantle.  The expedition team had a busy day unloading the ship and clearing customs and quarantine.

That day marked the beginning of a transition: the voyage was over, and the team would soon separate.  Today, the expedition members are again scattered across the globe, many (but not all!) back at home and returning to their pre-expedition routine.  The expedition is over.

Despite being home, the project is not over.  Data collected on the island are being processed, analyzed, and prepared into reports.  Pictures and videos are being reviewed, documented, annotated, and turned into presentations both for scientific audiences and amateur radio clubs.  Team members are writing preliminary reports on the projects they led, to contribute to the comprehensive report on the expedition which will be submitted to the Australian Antarctic Division by mid-June as specified in the permit.

In California, the Bay Area warehouse team will reassemble in a few weeks to receive the expedition gear coming back to the US by shipping container.  Everything will be unpacked and separated.  Samples will be sent to collaborating scientists, loaned equipment will be returned, and excess expedition equipment will be liquidated.

Although the radio operation is over, behind the scenes quite a bit of work is still ongoing to bring this expedition to a close.

73, Bill AE0EE


In a surprising (but very welcome) change of events, Bill, AE0EE, has offered to keep VK0EK.ORG alive and post memories and stories from the team members who went and experienced the full Heard Island experience – including getting there and coming back.


So, Bill, the Mic is now yours – and thanks very much!


Rich, KY6R


Our very good friend and super talented VK0EK Team Artist will have a nice New Jersey style “sit down” and chat with our good friend Tom “Da Boss” Medlin, W5KUB on his FB “Amateur Radio Round Table” webcast – also simulcasted on legendary shortwave station WBCQ:

0100z April 27 (Tuesday evening 8 PM Central time US)


With Dayton coming up soon – you will be able to meet all of the VK0EK Team members – quite a few who went to Heard Island, plus honorary Diablo DXers and media “pit crew” members Jeff, K1NSS and Tom, W5KUB


Keith Bainbridge, VK6RK, and the entire VK Support Team hosted the VK0EK Team to a great BBQ and welcoming party . . .


Fred, KM4MXH, Gavin, VK2BAX, Barry G4TML, Wayne, VK6EH

In the NCRG club house, the morse key display

Hans-Peter, HB9BXE, Bob, KK6EK, Keith, VK6RK

Famous wine bottle

Bob, KK6EK with Zeljko, VK6VY and the famous VK6ANC wine!

chow down

The VK6ANC club meeting area


Dave, WJ2O, Gavin, VK2BAX, Jim, N6TQ, Dave, K3EL, Ken, NG2H, Fred, KM4MXH and Bill, AE0EE, Bob, KK6EK, Hans-Peter, HB9BXE, Carlos, NP4IW and Arliss, W7XU


A great time had by all – and the VK0EK Team would like to thank the VK6ANC crew and fellow team mates for a fantastic time!



With a HUGE success under their belts and after sailing half way around the world in high seas, the VK0EK Team arrived early morning Perth time.

I want to thank the entire team for carrying out one of the most interesting (and difficult) DXpeditions I’ve ever witnessed, and one that I was very proud to be a part of. Along with the Diablo DXers, who “had the teams back” the entire time, this truly was a project of friends pulling together as a cohesive team making the difficult possible.

Welcome back to civilization!

73, Rich KY6R

Braveheart in OF77 (0900 utc 21 April 2016)

The team is scheduled to arrive in Freemantle. When they arrive they will have to go through a bio security inspection and then will have to unload and get the gear packed into a container. More work!

A huge thanks to Jan, ZS6BMN for these wonderful grid square reports – where Jan used data from the WSPR beacon and the DeLorme Tracker.