The combination of features-dramatic glaciated landscapes, abundant wildlife, geological history, and harsh weather conditions and the absence of any human introduction of non-indigenous species-makes this a region of outstanding natural values and can be readily recognized to have the inspiration qualities of a pristine wilderness.-AAD The backside of the world February 7, 2006. The colony penguins on the island, located on the west coast of the ice-continent Antarctica, is doing the normal habitats to survive. The temperature is above normal, minus 1 degree Celsius. The wind is quiet, only 40 knots, normal speed. Peter I is the name of the island. The exact location of the island is 67 degrees and 43 minutes west, and 68 degrees, 12 minutes south. The island has a volcanic history, and is 9 months, during the long Arctic winter, covered with ice. The top of the volcano, covered with snow is barely visible. Suddenly there is excitement on the island. A ship is approaching the rocky coast of the island. For a few second there is a helicopter visible on the deck of the ship. Then the fog becomes very tight again and ship and helicopter are gone out of sight. Did they see it alright or was it an icy “Fata Morgana”. The last time they saw another living soul on the island was 12 years ago (1994). One day later, the fog is partly disappearing. And yes, the boat is still anchored some hundred meters away from the rocky shoreline of the island. But it is not the famous Calypso with captain Cousteau, but the Dap Mares, and the helicopter on board is needed for a safe landing. Twelve years are passed since the last visitor left the area with a Russian boat. The excitement of the penguins rises very fast when the helicopter starts flying above the island. The excitement goes up and rises to an extreme high level when the helicopter strikes down on the icy surface of the island, and a couple of very strange looking penguins setting foot on the island. Few minutes later a broadcast from the ship is sent into outer space. "The Eagle has Landed". Historical words of course, but it is not clear if Eagle is the name of the helicopter. And because of the foggy weather, it was not clear if one of the passengers brought in a bold-eagle for fishing purposes. The message was received in Punta Arenas, Terra del Fuego, South America, and then relayed again to modern communication systems. But who are the receivers of this strings message? The helicopter is now flying on and off, and brings cargo after cargo to the island. And the helicopter brings more people to the island, who immediately starting to setup a big tent. Are thoe invaders the London Symphony Orchestra, and will they give a performance for the inhabitants of Peter I? But where are those needed instruments, are they packet up in the many boxes, the helicopter dumps on the mainland? Also keyboards are unloaded but they are fixed to laptops. Yes, the invaders, are of course, scientists. But what is the connection link between them and the pipe-system and clotheslines fixed to the pipes? Then the helicopter brings room-13 ashore, a toilet-home. The group must be prepared very good, but what are they intending to do on the island? Are they from outer space? And why are they landing just here in this outpost of the old world, this lonely unfriendly place? Suddenly the fog comes in again, rapidly, and the Dap Mares is out of sight. There are still 3 people on the boat, waiting for their turn of transport to the island, one of them seems to be the cook of the invaders. Its to dangerous to use the helicopter and the man on the island are left on their own. Of course, the invaders are crazy-madman. Island-Lunatics, no doubts about that. But those lunatics are well trained, they know what they have to do. In the extreme weather conditions they have already setup the tents, and now they are unpacking the many boxes, containing strange pieces of equipment. And outside the tents, house 13 is anchored on the snow surface, and the pipe-system is put together to hold the clotheslines for the dirty wash. But wait a minute, the clotheslines are too high to hold clothes! A tension-rope holds a lot of little flags. Among them you can recognize the Union Jack, The Russian and the Swiss flag, and even the Norwegian and Dutch flag are decorating the pipe-rope. There are only man in the group. It looks like if the man have build up a call center of a mail order firm. Members of the group (mostly 50 years old or even older) are sitting on long tables, carrying headphones with a microphone, listening to emotional sounds of their customers. Continuously the men a trying to get their callers calm down, but the results are almost zero. All callers are asking for immediate attention, but this seems to be impossible for the Grey-haired headphone-man. The callers are very desperate, but it is not clear what their problems are. Another group of men, also wearing headphones, don't speak at all to their customers. Their microphone is switched off, and some don't even have a microphone connected. The only thing these men are doing is playing on the keyboard of their laptops. Their faces are showing unbelief, and they are looking like lunatics. The only thing these men are doing is pushing against a silver lever every 20 seconds. It is clear for a spectator, those man have probably a burn out. And that so short after their arrival on the island. Indeed these men are Island Lucky Lunatics, Ill men. But of course Ill man with a very strange brain defect. These men are Hams, radio-operators, who paid a lot of money, to get to this very wild, dangerous, unfriendly lonely place on earth. With only one goal, an that is talk to their buddies elsewhere in the world. For 10 days long, during 24 hours a day, around the clock. Crazy indeed, and their buddies, spread out all over the globe must be as crazy as well. The message "The Eagle has landed" was a signal for those 2 million other lunatics. The message was a sign to invite those buddies to say hello to the few desperate men on Peter 1 Island. The message was also an invitation for Dutch Hams, and one of them was since December 2004 living in Huijbergen, very close to the Belgian border. Also the 1994 visitors of Peter 1, were Radio-Hams, and during their stay on the island the man from Huibergen was not successful in his attempts to get a connection with Peter 1. The many attempts, during day and night, and several days of taking holidays did not bring the success he wanted so desperate. "The Eagle has landed" was the signal for a new wave of attempts to get a connection with a living soul in this unknown country. Yes COUNTRY, the two million radio-lunatics consider this lonely ice volcanic world, called Peter 1, as one of the 335 countries on the globe. Every Ham on the world likes to say: "I have worked all countries". It seems the value of this phrase can only be understand by those two million lunatics, calling themselves Hams. They are the hunters and the visitors on Peter 1 Island are the beef they are hunting for. Indeed 2 million Lunatics, and the competition among them is killing. And that for only one purpose, and that is to get the signature of one of their idols, written down on a piece of paper, 9 by 14 cm wide. But the distance from Huijbergen to the tent on Peter 1, was more than 15.000 km. And it was not certain if the good men on Peter 1 were asleep when attempts could be made from the Netherlands. Attempts making around the clock was the only right option to get the signed paper. And of course a good preparation, and a lot of work on antenna systems. In Huijbergen, the radio-ham did make a lot of preparations. End 2004 he moved from Vlissingen to Huijbergen and had no antennas at all. Knowing that in January 2005 a group Hams would try to visit Peter One Island, he and a couple of his friends did build a very strange construction of pipes and wires. The pipe-rope construction was called a Spider-beam, and the construction could be turned 360 degrees. It looked indeed like a big high wash dryer, 8 meters up in the air. Unfortunately the construction had a very short life, because the next day stormy winds destroyed the careful build up spider-construction. The ham in Huijbergen was not the only unlucky lunatic, also the group attempting to land on Peter 1 could not reach their target. The next attempt of the group was scheduled again, and would be February 2006. The new schedule did give the ham from the Netherlands the possibility to build a new pipe-construction. The new construction was finished end September 2005. A huge antenna-tower was put in reinforced concrete. In the tower top, a lot of pipes were mounted, and decorated with a plastic owl to keep birds off. The whole constructions looked like a huge TV antenna, and was secured with long wires, fixed to a fence. Would this construction have the good result the ham expected? The plastic owl did not help much, birds did use the construction very often as a meting-place Two days later the fog around Peter 1 Island disappeared, and the remaining three members of the group could be brought to the island. And among them was indeed the cook of the group and he brought a lot of food on the island. The cook even brought chairs ashore, those already on the islands did show marks of worn patches. Every morning, starting with Wednesday, February 8, the alarm-clock went of in Huijbergen, at 5 AM local time, but the pipe-rope constructions on the South-pole Island did not produce decent signals in the pipe-rope construction in Huijbergen. And the Dutch ham did listening out every free minute, day and night. Signals from Peter 1 where most of the time weak, or not copyable at all. But on Thursday evening, February 9, one of the ham-friends of the man from Huijbergen was lucky to get an answer on 20 meter from the South-Pole operator. Congrats Rien. Then the operator at the South Pole decided he reached his daily tax, and switched off the radio. Grr.... But the good fortune cooky was lying around the corner, and after another one and a half hour, calling and listening on the 30 meter band another operator on Peter 1 Island answered the cry for attention from Huijbergen, Netherlands. Yeeeeessssssssss !!! Ringgg...., the alarm-clock goes of again. Friday morning, 5 o'clock. My XYL is shaking me on and on. Push off the Alarm she said, I want to sleep on a bit more. Did I have a bad dream? Did I really work 3Y0X barely 40 hour after the DXpedition started their emissions? I jump out the warm bed, as fast as i can, and put on my clothes. No time for washing and shaving, and sleepy as I am i find the switch and the equipment in the shack starts to heat the room again. Yes I have the call of 3Y0X written down in my log for a 30 meter QSO that Thursday evening. This was no dream. But continuing in dream-words, I also did not have a microphone. Instead I was also pushing against a silver lever, the paddle of my electronic keyer. Thank you very much mister Samuel Morse for the invention of the speechless talk for Ham Lunatics, the Di-Dah language. Now it was time to put in the log some more QSOs. Just one QSO was not enough for me. Think about the disaster that the QSL-manager cannot find your QSO in the log, because you misheard the signals from 3Y0X, the callsign used on Peter 1. So again headphone on and continue to listen on the bands, finding 3Y0X and then de hard part, trying again to get the attention from the 3Y0X operator. Just one QSO of 10 seconds duration is not enough to quench my thirst, to satisfy my hunger. And other hams had already more than one QSO in CW and SSB in their log. But of course, most of the ham-world still hunting for their first fish from Peter 1 Island. Everyone had made preparations for working 3Y0X. They had made a phone-call to their QRL, letting them know that the caller was catched by the dangerous Peter-One-Virus, and was not able to show up. The XYL, of course was send out on a visit, together with the kids, and waiting for a call that she could come home again. And more honorable Hams had apply in time for a few extra days of vacation. And they got those extra days of course, their Boss or Mistress did not refuse the application because they wanted that POL (Peter-One-Lunatic) as soon as possible out of their office. Signals from Peter 1 Island kept very weak, and sometimes signals faded away completely. That Friday no proper opening could be found, and on 17 meters the local noise was too strong. Earlier in the morning the strongest signals could be heard on 40 meters, but the competition was too extreme. No second QSO with 3Y0X. Was this a wasted day, or just a day the pile-up was too big? That weekend the Dutch PACC contest would run for 24 hours. My friends and I would put PI4HQ in the air. That Saturday morning the alarm went off again at 5, and another try for 3Y0X was started. No signal this time on 40 meter, but there where some 80 meter spots. Impossible band for me, in 40 years of ham-radio i never worked a PY (Brazil) or LU (Argentina) station on that band. At 6.11 UTC I could work my first TZ (Mali) station on 80 meters. There were not many callers for TZ3M, so I decided to give it a try. It took me just 1 minute to get the station in my log. This was a good sign, so i decided to give 3Y0X also a try on 80 meter. The band was very noisy, and the competition was as expected. HUGE. The problem was to find 3Y0X on 3504 kc. I learned about the tuning of the 3Y0X-operator by listening continuously to the pile-up. But you cannot call if you don't hear the station you are calling. Fifty minutes listening was needed before i heard Peter 1 in the noise for the first time. Time for starting my sequence of tries, to catch an impossible fish. Did I hear right, did i get a report from 3Y0X on 3504? It was after my second attempt. QRM and QRN was terrible, and it was impossible to be 100 % sure 3Y0X was giving ME a report. Yet it was pretty sure i got precious 15 seconds of time from 3Y0X. I heard 3Y0X three more times before the QRN ended the pleasure of listening to a just worked DXpedition. 3Y0X was gone (for me). Knowing the log of 3Y0X was regularly updated on the Internet, i brought many visits to the 3Y0X-log Internet site. But it took about 40 hours of stress before the log of 3Y0X showed the QSOs made during that Saturday morning. Late Sunday evening, just fore bedtime, i offered myself a beer, smiling from ear to ear. The impossible fish was catched, I found my QSO with 3Y0X on 80 meters confirmed. 3Y0X, you have great operators... The blue line shows the direction to 3Y0X from the Netherlands. The blue point is Peter 1 Island. (Azimuth- projection) A band-plan was available on Internet, so everyone knew where to listen to the weak signal of that far-away station 3Y0X. But where ware 3Y0X listening himself. As usual this was unknown to the audience. That fact caused a lot of problems, because you had to find out yourself on which spot the Peter 1 crew was listening. And often it was just a gamble, so you had to pick your own random spot, and start you secret weapon to catch 3Y0X. Then you discovered very fast that your choice was also the choice of hundred other hunters. But what to do then, move and look for another free spot, or trying the same spot again and again. You had to gamble again. And if you thought you found the right spot for tryout, then it became clear that the 3Y0X operator was not listening to your spot at all, because he was taking a short break for a quick visit to room-13, the little yellow house. Sometimes it happened that you made a miscalculation, or that you pushed the wrong buttons of your set. Your spot was the same spot the Islanders used to make their transmissions. Then you got help in many different languages from a lot of other competitors, and the problem was solved at once. Even worse was the appearance of the HH-group, the ham-Hooligans. If they showed up (and that happened very, very often), the BP, the band police lost control over the immense traffic jams. Disk- jockeys solved this problem by playing very modern art of music, mostly the "Piep-Crack Sonata of Bizarre. The result was always the same, the HH-group disappeared, and the traffic was moving again after the Bizarre-Sonata was played completely. Unfortunately the length of the Son ate of Bizarre was 5 minutes. On Sunday afternoon february 12 at 17.12 UTC, just about one hour before 3Y0X made their last QSO, I was lucky to put band number 6 into my log. About 1200 more hams made also 6 bands. But the adventure of the DXpeditioners was not over., They had to wait until a big storm was over, giving them a free ride back to the ship. And that storm lasted six (6) days. This DXpedition was very successful for me, and compared to the missed 3Y0 DXpedition in 1994 it was a highlight from the upper order. Of course it did help a bid that PA5M, Michael was one of the operators there. Thanks guys for a wonderful adventure. In 2007, a year after the Peter One DXpedtion, I was with some friends QRV in Liechtenstein as HB0/PA0ABM. We hired the chalet Barsula, an old farmers house. There in the mountains of HB0 country, two cars suddenly came up to the farmers house. Tourists, who did get lost I assumed. But instead of turning around, and going down again, they eves turned their cars to the small dead ended road at the shack of HB0/PA0ABM. And when the visitors climed out of their cars we knew, they where from outher space. On their shirts we could see the 3Y0X logo. F2CD, Gerard and Bob, N6OX came to visit us, so I really could touch my Peter One Island heroes. Thanks again guys. When are you going to North Korea, P5, the last one I need ?!!

Peter 1 Island, at Last ..

DXing - Stories 01