VK2IAY/4 IOTA Activation Dec/Jan 2007/2008
(By Steve G0UIH/VK2IAY/3D2FI webmaster www.rsgbiota.org )

2007/8 Islands on the Air (IOTA) Dxpedition to Australia (Queensland Islands)
took place over the following dates...
VK2IAY/4 Great Keppel Island OC-142 Queensland South Coast (Center) Group 16/12/2007 until 22/12/2007
South Molle Island OC-160 Queensland South Coast (North) Group  from 07/01/2008 until 11/01/2008

QSL Cards are now designed following the activations. These will be printed by Alfio IT9EJW ( www.printed.it ) during April 2008
and should be ready to mail out in April/May 2008. QSL's are fine either direct or via the buro (Sorry as 01/2007 no E-QSL's)

Photo: Great Keppel Island, Queensland, Australia IOTA OC-142

The front of the new 2007/2008 OC-142 and OC-160 QSL Card

The rear of the new 2007/2008 OC-142 and OC-160 QSL Card

Report from Activation of OC-142 and OC-160  2007/8

The activations took place from Great Keppel Island Resort and South Molle Island Resort.
This was primarily a "Holiday + Honeymoon Vacation", but with radio included for good measure, so activations were limited for a few hours only per day.
We arrived in Brisbane in early December to begin our "Honeymoon". Weather conditions were variable, a nice 29 degrees but a few showers were around indicating that the
Australian summer wet season was just about to start for Queensland.
After spending a few days with my long time friends Bryan and Carole in Ipswich (QLD), we made the short flight from
Brisbane to Rockhampton ready to catch the "CAT" to Great Keppel Island.

Great Keppel Island is fringed by stunning coral gardens, turquoise waters and sun drenched beaches.
 The island's interior is abundant with native wildlife and acres of bush land scattered with winding walking trails.

 On arrival we checked in and made our way to our "Hilltop" Cabin. Great Keppel has these cabins, spread out in 4 or 5 rows on the hillside overlooking the resort.
 It's a bit of a climb to your QTH, but for the radio buffs having a super take off makes up for the hard climb. Our own villa was located on the 2nd level, even so, this had a very
good take off in all but 1 direction (USA S/P). Unfortunately radio conditions were not that good. The low point of cycle 23 and with cycle 24 not yet started gave only mediocre propagation.
On some days I was QRV for up to 6 hours with the blessing of Gail my XYL, but often CQ calls came unanswered.
On 2 occasions I was QRV over the VK nighttime period until 3 or 4 am, which would generally be good for EU stations, but again conditions were poor with
mainly only the QRO and stations with directional antennas making the trip.
After 7 days on the island I managed just under a 1000 QSO's in the log with limited time on the radio and variable conditions.
This is far less than any other activation that I've done and highlighted the very poor propagation.

After a week on Great Keppel we returned to Brisbane for a Christmas stay with Bryan and Carole and enjoyed their hospitality.
This was our first Christmas in Australia and seemed rather strange not having the cold UK winter to contend with.

Over Christmas is was becoming apparent that Queensland's summer rainy season was going to be more so than normal.
I have been to Queensland often in December, only to find it very hot and dry which is nice for the tourists, but no so good for the locals who are craving the summer rains in order to fill
the large gaps in the states reserviors. We were due to fly to Cairns on Dec 29th, but the conditions were so that the rainfall in the area~
had been over 5 inches in the last 2 days, with some areas having twice that amount.
 Our plans to visit the QLD Outback were put on hold and instead we made some rapid adjustments to the itinery and decided to fly to Adelaide in SA.

Adelaide and SA is one area that I have not visited, so this was new for me and also for my wife. This was Gail's first time in VK and my 10th.
We had a super New Year period touring across SA and having sunny, hot and dry conditions between 35 and 47 degrees.
New Year's day was the hottest for 100 years, so we had a few days on the beach cooling off!.

In the first week of January we then hired a car and made the 5500km trip from Adelaide (SA) to Airlie Beach (QLD).
This was to be our own "Outback Tour" to replace the Queensland Outback trip, postponed permanently due to the WX.
We enjoyed the trip which spanned over 5 days as we took the drive via Broken Hill, Wilcannia and up through central NSW
heading back into Queensland via Roma and Emerald.

Having stayed for a night in Airlie Beach to get over our 5 days in a car, we then caught the "CAT" to South Molle Island.

South Molle is located in the heart of the Whitsunday Group and is a tropical island getaway surrounded by National Parks and sparkling blue waters.
We had booked a beach cabin for 5 nights
, which was located right on the beach front and had a good position for the antenna; although there were a few
palm trees that could get in the way, I was lucky with our own cabin position. The location was very good, although the beach areas are stone and not sand.
The first thing we can say about South Molle is the food. We took a chance beforehand on full board as many islands lack facilities away from the resorts. South Molle is no exception.
The food here was first rate, and plenty of it, which made up for the very variable WX conditions and poor radio propagation.
Unfortunately we couldn't give Great Keppel the same praise in the culinary area. Whilst adequate, it was missing something.
On the radio South Molle also suffered from poor conditions, with only sporadic adequate openings. Again some period were spent calling CQ with little or no response.

All in all we had a great honeymoon and a superb time in VK, meeting friends both old and new and experiencing that good old Ozzy hospitality.
We hope to return in 2009/10 possibly around the Oct/Nov time when both radio and weather conditions will be much more favourable.
Thanks to everyone that hooked up with us and sorry if you called and didn't get in the log, hopefully next time.

My thanks go to the following people for their kindness and hospitality during our visit.
Bryan and Carole Gibbs from Ipswich, Queensland.
Caroline and Gary Wyeth - Monte Carlo Apartments, Surfers Paradise QLD
Les (VK4BUI) and Jackie Styles- Sunshine Coast

 - 73 Steve G0UIH/VK2IAY/3D2FI