This article originally appeared on an old website of the EUDXF (European DX Foundation) . "Never again" I said to Ken, ZL2HU as we departed the yacht "Evohe" in 1996 after the ZL8RI Kermadecs DXpedition. ZL8RI was exhilarating but the voyage was very difficult. Fortunately we both have short memories. Within two weeks, I said to Ken "We have to do Campbell". "I don’t even want to think about it for 3 months" he replied. Three months later his reply to the same question was "When?". We both agreed on January 1999 as it is summer holiday time in New Zealand. Campbell Island is 1400 km and 52 degrees South with a sub-Antarctic climate. Getting there was going to be a problem. Getting a permit was going to be difficult as Campbell Island is a nature reserve, protected and administered by the New Zealand Department of Conservation. Bureaucracy and all that The first hurdle was obtaining a permit. The Kermadec DX Association was well known to the NZ Department of Conservation (DoC). They had no problem with us as a group as they knew that we were only interested in Amateur Radio and our track record in the Kermadecs was impeccable. They had written policy that stated because Campbell Island has a rich abundance of flora and fauna, any overnight tourist stay would impact on the island’s environment. If the DoC let us "tourists" stay, a precedent would be set and then they would have to allow other groups to stay on Campbell Island. Ken used every possible argument to persuade the DoC to give us special dispensation. Numerous letters were exchanged and at the end of the day, it was take it or leave it. Activate Campbell Island with some loss of nighttime operations or don’t activate it at all. We made the decision in early 1997 that we had to go, in spite of the restrictions as New Zealand has applied to the UN to give Campbell Island "World Heritage Park" status which could mean even more restrictions in the future. Our Permit was duly issued by the DoC but the overnight restrictions remained. The DoC stipulated that we must take their representative with us to supervise our activities. The Team Compatibility of personalities and the commitment of the individual team members accounted for the success of the operation. The key was always going to be the "right" people. We wanted team players who could also be responsible for specific areas of the DXpedition. Definitely no pessimists! The DX community is a small one and it was not that difficult to find eleven out of the nearly 100 excellent applicants for a place on the team. Ken Holdom ZL2HU was the Leader and administrator, Lee Jennings ZL2AL - Logistics planning of people and equipment, James Brooks 9V1YC was the Radio operations manager. Declan Craig EI6FR and Andrew Williamson GI0NWG were in charge of the design and operation of the antenna systems. Ken Holdom ZL2HU and Murray Woodfield ZL1CN were in charge of the power distribution.. Junichi Tanaka JA4RHF- RTTY and 6 metres. Trey Garlogh N5KO and Wilbert Knol ZL2BSJ- computer operations and logs. Brian Biggings VE3XA - Safety and Jason Christiensen ZL2URN was the Department of Conservation representative which made the team of eleven. The operators and leaders were firmed up by October 1999. Financing It is a fact of life that modern DXpeditions no longer run on shoestring budgets. Our biggest problem was finding the perfect ship. The "Braveheart" was excellent for our purposes as we were able to live on board for a month. The "Braveheart" is an ex Japanese research vessel of around 134’ long with a high bow for breaking into heavy seas. It is capable of a 9000 km journey at a speed of just under 10 knots, but it was expensive for a small organization such as ours. Each member of the team was required to put "money on the table" many months before we left to cover part of the $90,000 budget. This requirement sorted out the serious DXers. The Kermadec DX Association relied heavily upon many sponsors and many donations from the individuals and DX organizations around the world. Objectives It was clear from the outset that this operation must not fail from lack of management and organization. Ken ZL2HU, the DXpedition organizer was very skilled in dealing with bureaucracy and Lee ZL2AL, enjoyed the logistics and planning. To be successful, we needed quality leadership, an excellent operating team and a committed group of support "pilots" and helpers. We also needed reliable radio gear, as many sunspots as possible, generous financial support from the international ham community, the support of our long suffering HRWs (Ham Radio Widows) and bit of old fashioned good luck,. Lastly, we needed a very expensive ship, as the vessel must be waiting there at Campbell Island during the DXpedition according to our DoC permit. Most of the planning was outlined in a comprehensive operations manual which detailed every aspect of how the DXpedition would progress from start to finish. Lee wrote a set of objectives to define the aims of the DXpedition. Some of these objectives were: To arrive on Campbell Island and be on the air with at least four stations simultaneously within 36 daylight hours of arrival and to maintain six operational stations for the duration of the DXpedition. To achieve 60,000 Plus QSO’s - with at least 30,000 on CW. To operate 160 metres, the WARC bands, 6 metres, and RTTY. To complete the DXpedition safely with no equipment failures, no accidents, no major medical problems and to satisfy all DoC and ARRL DXCC requirements. To have fun and all to return home with a great sense of accomplishment and camaraderie. Campbell Island Campbell Island is situated at 52 degrees South, about 1400 km South of Wellington, There are no regularly scheduled ship or aircraft services to the island. In fact, the original purpose of a weather station was superseded by an automated satellite weather service when Campbell was abandoned a few years ago. We were forced to take everything. Five tonnes of gear, 23,000 watts of generated power and enough antennas to put a signal everywhere in the world so that ZL9CI would be easy to work. Campbell Island is a nature reserve. The flora and fauna are protected, and for good reason. During the middle 1800s, Campbell, McQuarrie, Auckland, Heard and other islands in the Southern ocean had huge populations of sea lions, elephant seals and whales. Most of these species were decimated by the whalers and sealers of the past. It’s a fact, that in one year alone, one whaling company based in Australasia took 165,000 skins and 56 tons of seal and whale oil. It is hard to imagine how Perseverance Harbour, Ønamed after the ship that discovered it, looked a long time ago. The ZL9CI Site was located at Tucker Cove in Perseverance Harbour. The harbour is about 1 km wide and 4 km long. The weather can change from 8C and pleasant sunshine to a howling gale with 70 knot winds and horizontal driving rain within an hour. Rain falls on an average of 325 days of the year and winds of over 50 knots occur on over 100 days in the year. It is cold, wet, windswept, wild and strikingly beautiful. The rapid weather changes are quite remarkable as we found out on the third day there. The CW antenna site was situated south of the "Technical" building (the old meteorological office) which became the shack and the SSB antenna site was sited 100 metres north. Each antenna field was separated by about 200 metres. Voyage to Campbell Ken, ZL2HU, offered to host the whole team in his Wellington home until we left. Ken’s wife Emily was extremely tolerant and a wonderful hostess. Jan 29 saw the first meeting of the full team and it was obvious we had an extremely talented and enthusiastic team. We then began loading five tonnes of equipment on the Braveheart and just finished as the crew of the ship was frantically making last minute preparations and loading provisions. We had many local helpers and support people, such as Ron ZL2TT, Chris ZL2DX, Win ZL2GI, Bob ZL1RS and others. The following night saw many of the local amateurs call in at Ken’s home and wish us well for the voyage South. We were ready to leave on January 1. Emily was ready for us to leave also! Up early, some team members were showing the effects of New Year’s Eve. The trip out the Wellington Harbour was magnificent and we were joined by dolphins. Obviously a good omen. Shipboard life was settled into very quickly and you could feel the excitement building within the team. A 20M dipole was hoisted into the rigging and dinnertime saw us cruising East of the South Island working the mainland local 2 meter repeaters in glorious weather with six foot swells. Brian, VE3XA kept track of our progress on his portable GPS. Jan 2 was antenna day. Eight antennas were assembled on the rear deck of the ship in excellent weather. The Braveheart was stable with a gentle pitch and roll. Seabirds, like miniature fighter aircraft, did runs at the boat looking for food in the ship’s wash. A beautiful sunset appeared on the horizon as we left Stewart Island at the bottom of New Zealand. We changed coarse and headed South East to begin the run for Campbell Island. Immediately the ocean changed with larger swells. The boat rolled and pitched in protest. Great fun was had on the air with the FT900 and dipole hung up in the rigging. And then the weather began to deteriorate. There was a cold snap in the air. Waves grew larger and the boat was being tossed around. 40 knot winds howled across the rear deck and the wind was blowing froth off the top of the waves. It was quite uncomfortable. Most of the team went into hibernation down below in their bunks. Less rolling there. Few of the team had lunch. Dinner was a non event. Days turned into nights and soon the Captain confirmed that we would make landfall at Campbell much earlier than expected Arrival and Setup On the evening of January 4, Campbell Island appeared on the ship’s radar. Soon it loomed out of the mist. We arrived at Perseverance Harbour around 9 PM, having arrived 24 hours earlier than planned. Sea lions played around the boat while giant Royal albatross cruised the cliffs above the harbour. The complete team suddenly appeared on the deck, having made a miraculous recovery from their seasickness. Congratulations all around was followed by a meeting with Nigel and the crew of the Braveheart. They would help us get the equipment ashore at 4 AM. Antennas were top priority. We could only pray that the weather would hold.They next day saw us up at 3.30 AM and on to Campbell Island by 4 AM. A look around and it was decided to set up the eight complete stations at the old Meteorological Office. Simultaneous CW and SSB operation on the same band was a priority and it was decided by Declan and Andrew that two antenna sites would be developed. The first antenna field for SSB was sited north of the building and the CW antenna site was developed south of the shack.. The separation was 200 metres. The sea lions were incredibly inquisitive, very aggressive and quite territorial. As we landed they were around the wharf and foreshore challenging us with large grunts and aggressive behavior. Later on in the morning, as we were assembling the yagis with the 15M and 20M monoband yagis on the ground in pieces, two young male sea lions approached and chased several team members around a small shed. The sea lions then reclaimed their territory, which unfortunately was covered by two very large yagis. Chaos reigned with sea lions, guy wires, yagi elements, nuts and bolts, hand tools, coaxial cables and guy ropes all mixed up together. After much laughter and a lot of running by the team members the sea lions departed the antenna assembly area. We stayed a safe distance away as they left and worked the rest of the day looking over our shoulders. After 14 hours of setup time without a break, both Nagara WARC antennas, the 20M Force 12 and Cushcraft 20M yagis, both Cushcraft 15M 5el yagis and the two Cushcraft 5el 10M yagis were in place The 30M Gladiator vertical, 80M vertical and Battlecreek Special 80M/160M were installed the next morning. All equipment was off loaded from the boat and the generators were ready for operations. The next day, starting at 4AM, saw us setting up the shack and running antenna tests. We could actually hear amateurs around the world talsking about ZL9CI before we went on the air. The whole ZL9CI site was ready to go in 29 hours of setup time. The weather was perfect. Jan 7 saw frantic, last minute preparations. The shack turned into a battle zone with James, the five star general in command, issuing orders, answering questions and getting the last minute checks completed. The first QSO was completed with Don N1DG, one of our two USA pilots. James called a team meeting for 20 minutes and then said "Have fun guys" It was all go. On the Air What a blast! The ZL9CI hit the air in style with over11,000 QSOs in the first 24 hours. We opened with six stations operating on most bands to give everyone a good chance of working us. We were given a taste of how bad the weather can become in an hour or so when a storm dropped the temperature and hit the antenna system with 70 knot gusts of wind late in the afternoon. The bad weather resulted in dangerous conditions to transfer the team off the island to the Braveheart and we were forced to stay ashore for the night much to the joy of 160M and 80M amateurs around the world. Trey N5KO, Declan EI6FR and Andrew GI0NWG were very popular on low band CW. 160M was brilliant all night with Trey racking up 180 QSOs. Everyone was extremely tired the next morning, The pileups were astonishing, with a solid wall of signals from EU, NA or JA depending on where the antennas are pointed. The high QSO rate produced plenty of tired grins and high fives when the logs were merged the next morning. Each day, the logs were compressed, sent by a PACTOR 2 link, (equipment provided by SCS of Germany ) to ZL2DX in New Zealand who forwarded them on for access on the QSL log server. It is probably the first time that logs have been transferred by PACTOR from a DXpedition. Individual CW team members were working over 200 per hour on a regular basis. We put up a second 80M vertical so that we could run 40M, 80M and 160M at the same time. The CW setup hummed! Walking into the shack and looking at the CT screens hour by hour was amazing. The totals grew alarmingly, sometimes reaching over 6000 per day. At this time, after 2 ½ days operations we had over 20,000 QSOs in the log. One objective of this DXpedition was to give everyone, in every country that elusive "new one" The 100W trap vertical stations seem to be able to work us as easily as the big guns. Europe was a priority for the DXpedition and we were able to lay down a good signal into EU most nights. The pileups were very, very well behaved with plenty of patience and good will flowing both ways. Internet feedback from the Pilots showed we were right on the money with EU. Jan 13 was an excellent day. We hit 43,000 QSOs and 6,500 for the 24 hour period. We could feel the pileups getting larger instead of diminishing. The WARC bands were huge with amateurs wanting a new one. And then on Jan 14 at 4.30 AM somebody switched off the bands. The Aurora Australis, or sunspots, or Murphy hit us. It didn’t really matter what it was. The bands were dead for about 12 hours. Nothing. Not even the broadcast stations were heard. Total wipeout. It was a much needed rest for the ops. 40M SSB was activated and James ran extreme totals. 40M and 80M CW and SSB featured more in our schedule as we moved closer to our shut down planned for January 24. Our 6M beacon was heard in VK and the first 6M QSO took place with VK2DN The beacon operated continually every day listening for answers on 50.110 mHz. Jun worked many JAs and became an instant celebrity in Japan. The six meter beacon was monitored every day for replies. We worked ZL, VK and JA. But we were never able to work the USA on that band. 30M was an outstanding CW band, yielding thousands of QSOs from early morning until we closed down. We purposely left the lower bands until late in the DXpedition. Unfortunately, with the exception of the first night when we were forced to stay over, the opportunity of all night LF operation never happened again. At the end of the day, back on the Braveheart just after midnight, the conversation was "What’s happening?" and "How was 15M tonight?" and "Did you hear that amazing pileup on 40M?" "Who’s going to fill the generators in the morning? The banter lasted about an hour and then the guys slowly disappeared down below for sleep. The computer operations room was in the bow next to the anchor locker where we had a PACTOR terminal driving a small transceiver into a 40M dipole up in the rigging. Another laptop was used for writing E-mails. Sleep only lasted five or six hours until one of the ship’s crew woke up the morning shift for breakfast. Breakfast was usually quiet. Most of the team needed another ten hours sleep. But the pileups were just a fast Zodiac trip away in the dark to the island. We always knew what was in store for us. On January 21 we passed the 81,000 mark with a four days left. By this time a numbing tiredness had overtaken most of the team members. You could tell that they had had enough. It was a bit like working the CQWW for weeks on end! Totals and all that From time to time, it was suggested that we should "go for the record" by well meaning amateurs around the world That meant concentrating on the record totals of the VK0IR DXpedition. The team discussed "That Record" about half way through the DXpedition. The overwhelming opinion of all the team was to carry on as we were, allowing as many amateurs as possible to work us on as many bands and modes as possible. If we passed the VK0IR record, it was a bonus. The real objective of ZL9CI was to have fun doing what we were doing and to help as many as possible to obtain a "new one" We all agreed and never wavered from that objective. We received several messages of congratulations from the VK0IR team as we left the island. At the end, as we closed down, I was personally pleased that we didn’t surpass the 100,000 QSO mark. I am glad we left the carrot dangling there for another team sometime in the near future. It will surely happen! Support Lyndon Nerenberg VE7TCP set up KDA, a private reflector - bulletin board on the Internet for us. It is doubtful that we could have arranged all the details and solved the problems without it. We are deeply indebted to Lyndon. KDA has run for nearly two years. We must also pay tribute to our Webmaster and pilot Don, N1DG, and our other pilots Ron Lago AA7DX, Rob Cummings GI0KOW and Joe Aoki JJ3PRT. Special thanks must go to Chris Hannagan ZL2DX who was the other end of the PACTOR link in New Zealand. Chris downloaded all our logs and forwarded all our e-mail traffic to friends and family and kept us in touch with reality. Bob Sutton ZL1RS built our 40M Four Square array and researched the propagation possibilities for the DXpedition. Support was given by ZL2TT, ZL2GI and other local NZ amateurs. The help from these dedicated and professional amateurs was incredible. Midway into the operation, the team was informed by the ARRL that we were the recipients of the Colvin Award grant for 1999. The team was extremely pleased at receiving this award as we were carrying on DXpeditioning in the tradition of Lloyd and Iris Colvin who gave so much to the amateur community in the many years they traveled the world giving out "new ones" Our heartfelt thanks to the ARRL and the members of the amateur community for supporting this DXpedition. Return Home Suddenly it was all over on January 24. The end was swift and a bit sad, as it is with all DXpeditions. The ZL9CI team had achieved all of it’s objectives. Our New Zealand Pilot Chris ZL2DX on 20M had the pleasure of the last QSO. We were worried about the weather as the barometer had been dropping for 30 hours and very bad weather was on it’s way. There were some anxious moments lowering the big yagis in the strong wind gusts that hit in the morning but that’s all part of the fun. It took just 9 hours to dismantle the antenna system, eight stations and ancillary gear and get it back on board the Braveheart. Perhaps it was a measure of how much we want to get home. Lee sent the last Press release from Campbell Island a few hours before we left. The final logs containing 96,004 QSOs were uploaded to the log server as we sailed out of Perseverance Harbour with a magnificent rain cloud sunset off the stern of the Braveheart. Statistics Eleven operators from seven countries, six active stations operating 18 hours per day. Over 52,000 CW QSOs and over 41,000 SSB QSOs. EU accounted for nearly 1/3 of the totals, which fulfilled one of our objectives. We were surprised by the activity on 30M, netting just under 9000 QSOs, 10% of the total. 20M was the "King" band, followed by 15M. 10M and 12M never really "fired" for long runs as we expected it to. 95 QSOs were made on 6M. We hoped for more but radio propagation still remains a rocket science! Equipment Some of the equipment was loaned to the DXpedition by team members. The rest came from major and minor sponsors. The Yaesu radios operated flawlessly and were a delight to use in the pileups. We used 3 x FT1000MPs, 1 x FT1000, 2 x FT920s, 1 x FT990, 2 x FT900s and an FT655. The Cushcraft Corporation donated several of their new 5 el XM series antennas with dual driven elements for wide bandwidth. Great antennas! Force 12 gave us a 3el 20M yagi which gave us a pipeline into wherever we had it pointed and the Nagara 12M/17M WARC band antennas performed very well. The Gladiator 30M vertical was excellent. The Commander Amplifiers are workhorses and performed perfectly without failure. The new Yaesu VL1000 Solid state Amplifier is an amazing piece of gear and points the way to the future of solid state amplifiers. Other than a generator failure and a dose of "computer virus" we had luck on our side. Luck favours the prepared and DXpeditions are all about redundancy. It was a joy to have seven stations operating at the end with the option of putting another on the air if needed. Acknowledgments We are deeply indebted to the international amateur community and our commercial sponsors. and would like to say thanks to these organizations for their fantastic support. Without their extremely help, ZL9CI would not have happened. The wonderful e-mails inspired us to give as many amateurs as possible a chance to work Campbell Island. DXpeditions are like sky rockets. A lot of preparation precedes the launch. There is great anticipation as to what will happen when it explodes. It is a spectacularly beautiful thing when it does, but only briefly, and then it’s all over, ready for the next one. And so it was with the ZL9CI DXpedition. Lee Jennings ZL2AL

ZL9CI - DXpedition to Campbell Island

Anetnnas Team Leader Ken, ZL2HU, opperating on 20 mtr Met Service Buildings on Campbell CW operating team, left to right GI0NWG, 9J1YC, N5KO, JH4RHF, EI6FR Sea Lion Sea Elephant Ship to Shore Transport with Boat owner Nigel Jolly Ken, ZL2HU, with King Penguin
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