Islands on the Air (IOTA) Dxpedition to Australia (Queensland Islands) and Fiji
took place over the following dates
3D2FI Nacula Island OC-156 Yasawa Group 29/11 until 5/12 2004
3D2FI Beachcomber Island OC-121 Mamanuca Group from 7/12 until 11/12 2004
VK2IAY/4 North Stradbroke Island OC-137 from 14/12 until 17/12 2004
Unfortunately - time did not allow the OC-016 activation, which was only for a few hours on days used for transfers and transit.
Follow the links above to checkout where I operated from. Some of the photo pages may take a while to load if you are on "Dial Up"
Link to 3D2FI Propagation Report and Radio Info Link to Home Page
QSL Cards for the
activation have been designed and are now finalized. These will be printed by
Alfio IT9EJW ( www.printed.it ) during
and should be ready to mail out in early February 2005.The final front version of the card is below.
OC-156 Nacula Island: Nacula or (Nathula) as it's pronounced in Fijian lies about 4 hours north of Nadi in the Northern part of the Yasawa Islands. This chain of 20 volcanic islands stretches in all about 90km and lies to the north west of the 2 main Fijian Islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. The Yasawas are sparsely populated (5000) with most inhabitants living in small villages. There are no shops, banks, postal, telephone or medical services - so it's very remote. Transport to the island groups can either be by private charter sea plane, which is very expensive or by the more normal "YASAWA FLYER" which is a high speed water "CAT" and serves many of the islands on a daily basis from Denarau Marina in Nadi. My location on Nacula was a small resort called "Safe Landing". The place itself is pretty low key with basic but good amenities, but the staff were very friendly and it was rather novel to see someone with a radio. This generated much interest with the local people and even the local chief made a visit to my Bure - quiet an honor! It was a good QTH for radio with large palm trees to the rear and a good North/South take off. The operating location was done in one of the Deluxe "Bure" - although the Bure are effectively "Twin" units together on some evenings I had to QRT by 23.00 local as the guests in the room next door were disturbed by the operating. On 2 nights the next door "Bure" was empty - so I made use of this and did 2x 03.00am operations to make up any loss - but generally this did not hamper the DXPedition as the propagation often went quiet after 23.00 local time. From time to time the local on site generator would switch off, but again this did not turn out to be a problem. Normally on Nacula the generator is switched off for 6 hours during the afternoon period, but the staff were very good and during my stay this was reduced to 1 hour from 17.00 to 18.00 local - just for any maintenance. My thanks to Rocky Volavola and the staff at Safe Landing Resort for a superb time and letting the operation take place. Operating conditions were the same as the 2002/3 Dxpeditions with the Icom 706MK2G, SEC1223 Switch mode PSU, DK9SQ 33foot fiberglass extendable mast and homebrew dipoles.
Nacula Island - Yasawa Island Group - Fiji, IOTA OC-156
OC-121 Beachcomber Island: Beachcomber Islands lies about half an hour west of Nadi in the Mamanuca Islands (pronounced Mamanutha in Fijian). This group of 20 small islands is situated in a lagoon formed by the Great Sea Reef and mainland Viti Levu. Like the Yasawas to the north, the Mamanucas are very scenic, from larger islands of volcanic formation to tiny "Coral Cay" like islands with white sand and coconut palms and reef fringed beaches. Many of the habitable islands support a tourist resort and a search online reveals many possible locations to stay depending on your budget. The Mamanucas are usually sunnier and drier than Viti Levu. The choice of operation was to be Beachcomber Island. This location is quite a contrast to Safe Landing on Nacula. Safe Landing was very quiet and peaceful - an ideal get away. Beachcomber on the other hand is a tiny coral cay only 2 hectares at low tide and is circled by a fabulous white sandy beach. The PR literature boasts of it being quiet a "Party Island" with many activities catering for both day and overnight visitors. Accommodation on Beachcomber is varied with many different levels depending on you requirements, but with the help of Andre GM3VLB/3D2LB who had operated from here before - I was advised to book Bure#2 which is one of the top private deluxe Bure. This turned out to be a good move. The Bure is in an excellent location (far enough away from the PA/sound system as not to interfere with it) and had full amenities with 24 hour power, so for anyone wishing to visit this location a call to book this Bure would be advised. Food on Beachcomber was very good and plentiful with a buffet style self service restaurant. Nightlife on Beachcomber was pretty exiting too - with many activities in full swing and of course Kava by the bucket load if you needed to get into the local swing of things. Radio on OC-121 was also very good. I managed to hook the dipole on a North/South take off from the DK9SQ fiberglass mast tied to the timber rafters outside of Bure#2. Everything worked very well and apart from a 5 minute generator downtime period (something must have tripped it as the whole complex went into darkness!) the radio was a complete success. I had 2 nights of working well into the early hours and on the other 2 occasions the propagation had died off by 23.00 so I kept the "Bar" company for an hour or 2. I would like to thank Thomasi and the staff on Beachcomber for a very pleasant stay and allowing the operation to take place and also to Andre Saunders GM3VLB/3D2LB for assistance with friends at Beachcomber.
Beachcomber Island - Mamanuca Island Group - Fiji, IOTA OC-121
OC-137 North Stradbroke Island: North Stradbroke or "Straddie" as its know locally is located 30 km southeast of Brisbane. North and South Stradbroke Islands and the historic settlements at Dunwich and Amity Point have become popular holiday destinations and day tripper locations for Brisbane people wanting to escape from the city. The islands, separated by a storm in 1896, are only 13 km from the seaside suburbs of Cleveland and Redland Bay and are served by regular ferry "CAT" services and also by vehicular ferry. North Stradbroke Island is about 38 km long and 11 km wide while South Stradbroke is smaller being only 22 km long and about 2.5 km wide lies to the south east of Brisbane in southern Queensland, both being part of the Moreton Bay Islands which includes Lamb Island which I operated in 2003. My stay here was a last minute decision and thus no "Formal Request" was made to the management to operate radio. As I was only staying 3 nights it seemed my best plan was to turn up and see if any radio was possible as I had already completed the 3D2FI Dxpedition. I had a good look around on the net and found the "Stradbroke Beach Hotel" located at Point Lookout on the North East corner of the island - which seemed to fit all the needs. Having checked in, was allocated a balcony room (Room 210) right at the end facing into a wide open area with a handful of palm trees - just the job an ideal location for the antenna, so hooking up the kit for the 3rd time VK2IAY/4 was on air on the 14/12. Radio proved very good - although the Hotel has TV, the dipole was located far enough away as not to cause any problems. Had 2 excellent evenings of propagation with 1 very good opening to EU and especially to the UK on the short path - this was a small consolation prize to the G's who had been disadvantaged by the Propagation on Fiji and struggled to get through.
Tourist Map North Stradbroke Island - Moreton Bay Islands Group - Australia, IOTA OC-137
Home Beach, Point Lookout - North Stradbroke Island - Moreton Bay Islands Group - Australia, IOTA OC-137
Link to Photos Page 1 - some images from the trip
Link to Photos Page 2 - some images from the trip
Link to Photos Page 3 - some images from the trip
Link to Photos Page 4 - some images from the trip