Amateur Radio from Desecheo

Press releases

February 26, 2009
And so it's over. The K5D 2009 Desecheo Island DXpedition is in the history books. - Every one of our goals was exceeded; most significantly, the number of QSOs. - Total Qs: 115,728! - Because our Special Use Permit (SUP) expires today, and because of the size/complexity of the infrastructure to dismantle, we decided to use helicopters to clear the island. Flights began at 1100Z and will continue until all gear and personnel are safely back in Puerto Rico.
Thanks to all who worked and helped us; we think we've driven KP5 Desecheo to near the bottom of the "most wanted" list!

February 24, 2009
2300Z: After reaching the 100,000 QSO mark last night, instead of kicking back and coasting, the team has worked the bands harder than ever. There are still so many people calling, many needing KP5 for a new one, the team has put their head down and kept going. - Beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, we begin to scale back the operation and prepare for departure. Just as when we ramped up, we will scale down with three stations remaining QRV until dawn (local time) on departure day, Thursday the 26th. - Many antennas will come down tomorrow and equipment packed. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset tonight and many of the team sensed that the end of this incredible adventure was drawing near.February 23, 2009 1530Z:
Yesterday was a fairly easy day for the K5D team. No re-supply boats, no water, gas or food to carry on our backs from the landing cove, no antenna work to do. Just work the pileups. We have begun to modify the radio schedule to try to pick up those areas of the world that have been obscured by the huge pileups from the population centers of NA, JA and EU. - Also, as we approach the end of the operation, plans are being set for an orderly departure. By the terms of our SUP (Special Use Permit) we must vacate the island no later than the 26th. Our current plan is to begin removing equipment and infrastructure on Wednesday afternoon the 25th. The last night (Wednesday) we will have three stations QRV, emphasizing 80m, 40m and 30m. Departure will resume at sunrise on the 26th. - The team is in good spirits and feel very good about what has been accomplished from this #6 "most needed" entity. We are now confident of over 100,000 QSOs.

February 21, 2009 2300Z:
Today (Saturday) was another very busy day for us. In addition to trying to keep stations on the air and provide Desecheo as a new one to so many who still need it, we had our first visit from the resupply boat in five days. Finally the seas moderated and the boat arrived with fuel, water and a fresh USFWS Law Enforcement contingent. The first group was to rotate off the island on the 19th, but seas delayed that until today! They were glad to go home to their families after pulling rotating security shifts since the 12th. They are all great people and we enjoyed their constant company.
We now have enough fuel to last through our departure and we will be able to run the amplifiers on all stations except 30 meters. The boat Captain built a portable hoist and it was used to remove and swing the loads to the rocks. From there everything was carried the 1/4 mile or so to the helicopter pad. The folks from USFWS Law Enforcement and Island Conservation worked right along side...a true team effort. The entire process took about five hours.
Some of the heavier items were not moved until after dark when temperatures had dropped. If you noticed we were off the air for some time, you now know why. The entire team was involved and the work took its toll, but they continue to perform without complaint. - QSO count stands at 83,500 with approximately four days to go.

February 20, 2009
0315Z: Group #3 all arrived safely this afternoon and Group #2 is now on their way home, tired but gratified by the experience. The seas are even higher and we've lost several antennas on the beach due to guy-points being washed away. We'll work on restoring those antennas tomorrow. We now have a more robust internet connection and the gap between uploaded logs should begin to shrink.

February 19, 2009
0300Z: The wind blew hard all night and then died down around dawn. Fortunately no rain accompanied the system coming through. The seas are spectacular with waves and spray going 30-40 feet into the air. Great fun to watch, but doesn't bode well for the crew changeover scheduled for later today. We are on the helicopter pad hundreds of feet from the sea, bu the sound can be heard through the pileups. Team Three is safely settled in their hotel, a stones-throw from the boat departure point. They completed UXO training tonight and are ready to come to the Island. Forecasts for the next two days are for continued high seas making a boat landing extremely hazardous and thus not an option. We can only hope the seas will die down as fast as they came up...the first sign will be the diminishing wind, but it has picked up again tonight and blowing hard.
Radio operations continue to be productive with 6-7 stations QRV 24/7. The QSO count is 60,000 as this is written, and everyone is having fun while working hard.
All the antennas have survived so far and we;'ve experienced no failures with any equipment. Let's see what tomorrow brings!

February 18, 2009
00:40Z: Our internet link went down again today but we believe we have it working well enough for logs and some pix from time to time. The Team continues to slug it out 24/7 with a heavy emphasis on EU and Asia. QSOs approach 50,000 after 4½ days. We are optimistic with more than a week to go and a fresh crew coming in we will knock Desecheo 'way down the "most wanted" list.
We have a WX forecast of heavy seas beginning late Wednesday and continuing Thursday. Seven members of our Team are due to rotate off the island on Thursday and another seven arrive. This is scheduled for Thursday morning via boat. We are watching the WX closely and, of course, the boat captain has the last say. Hopefully, if the changeover is delayed by WX it will only be a 24 hour delay. Late today our shelters get their first test with 25 kt winds coming through at sunset. Everyone is working hard manning seven HF radios with a 6m station at the ready. Sleep is at a premium

February 17, 2009
01:20: Today we had the first re-supply boat from Rincon. The boat brought gasoline, a few missing items from the helicopter trips and non-potable water. It took away trash, empty water and gasoline containers. - The heat today was oppressive; the hike from where the boat lands to where the camp is set up took a toll on the operators. - The camp supports the fifteen Team operators as well as five personnel from the field research team and three members of law enforcement. You'll see the camp in photos that we plan to have up soon. Our QSO count is now above 37,000! - Logs were sent to the "lookup site" today and will be available as soon as that site can make them ready. Check our lookup link page to see when the lookup function is enabled.

February 15, 2009
23:30Z: Operations are going well with 26,000 QSOs so far. We now have seven HF stations on the air plus one on 6M. All stations have dual antennas. - Still no internet capability so no logs uploaded yet. The supply boat will be here tomorrow and we'll be sending the logs back to PR to be uploaded sometime tomorrow afternoon. The boat will be bringing gear to (hopefully) repair one or both of our internet links, so we hope to have internet capability again sometime tomorrow.

February 14, 2009
23:30Z: Because of higher-than-expected winds which delayed helicopter trips, we were unable to complete our full setup on Thursday. At this writing, those problems are behind us and the camp and all antennas are in place and working.
The QSO count is just under 10,000 in the first 24 hours with only two stations operable for most of that time. We now have five stations on the air hoping for two or three more tomorrow.
We have no internet connectivity as our satellite link and our 900Mhz terrestrial link both failed. We have a plan that should get them both working in a day or two. In the meantime, no logs have been uploaded and, of course, no photos. When the links are working you'll learn about it here.
The Team is in high spirits and the weather is good now, nice breeze, calm seas but hotter than expected.
Last night we were forced to move our 40M operation away from our planned frequency. This was because of the RTTY contest which wiped out most of the band for us below 7.1MHz. The contest ends tomorrow and we expect much better 40M performance especially to Europe. We're sensitive to the fact that some EU countries/amateurs cannot transmit above 7.1MHz; this problem will self-resolve when the RTTY contest ends late tomorrow.

13 February 2009
Starting 16:20 14.023 CW

February 12, 2009
At 1240Z the first helicopter with five Team Members aboard took off from Rincon and a few minutes later landed safely on Desecheo Island. The K5D Desecheo 2009 DXpedition is officially ON! QRV (single transmitter only) still planned near 0200Z tonight.
Per Glenn W0GJ and Bob K4UEE @ 23:45Z: "Heavy winds during the day delayed several helicopter flights so we're running quite a bit behind schedule. For example, we had to wait until the last helicopter trip to begin erecting shelters. We're all exhausted and have quite a bit of infrastructure work yet to do (in the dark). Regrettably, this will delay our planned QRV until (hopefully) near 1600Z tomorrow (Friday). We're sorry to disappoint those expecting us on the air tonight.February 11, 2009
Today the Team accumulated all our equipment and all the gear for USFWS and the field research team (including all our food and personal gear) and prepared it for the helicopter external sling-load operation scheduled for tomorrow morning. Altogether, it's more than seven tons! The first flight will be at 1130Z tomorrow and flights will continue through (at least) mid-day local time.
The Team is tired but in great spirits and we're all very excited about tomorrow!
The staging point for helicopter operations is within sight of Desecheo and, when we took our lunch break today, we looked out at the island and the angry surf -- and knew we'd made the right decision about using helicopters. Safety First!

February 10, 2009
The K5D Team continues to prepare for its early Thursday AM departure for Desecheo Island. Last night the team met and had dinner with USFWS participants, law enforcement personnel and members of the field research team. Due to continued questionable weather (which for some weeks has included large waves, dangerous surf, high winds and rain unusual for this time of year), the Team has made an important strategic decision.
For safety reasons, all personnel and equipment will be transported to Desecheo Island by helicopter. The possibility of Team members and crew members being injured, vessels being damaged and equipment being lost during a sea landing was too great a chance to take.
Today, all of the equipment, supplies, antennas, generators, food, shelters, tables, chairs and so forth were unloaded from the storage facility and loaded into a large moving van for transfer to the helicopter pad.
Tomorrow, representatives of the helicopter company will meet the Team, examine the cargo and prepare it for transit via sling load on Thursday morning. A second helicopter will ferry personnel. Because we're limited to only fourteen days on the island, doing it this way will allow us to get on the air sooner, stay on the air longer -- and all with a higher degree of safety.
The Team has voted, if necessary, to contribute more money of their own to help contain these incremental costs.

February 8, 2009
Everyone arrived safely in San Juan PR yesterday; the last group at about midnight. - Last night we executed a contract for a helicopter to transport our heavier items including transceivers, amps, generators, fuel and shelters. - Fifteen Team Members plus a half-dozen USFWS personnel completed UXO (UneXploded Ordnance) training this morning. - Today was spent transiting from San Juan to our team HQ hotel in Rincon PR. - On the way, we stopped at the Arecibo Radio Telescope, visit courtesy Angel, WP3R.

Press release #5 - 6 February, 2009
Today several team members leave their homes and start their journey to Desecheo via Puerto Rico. The entire fifteen man team will assembled by Saturday evening in San Juan. Sunday morning will be devoted to the required UXO (unexploded ordnance) training and afterward the team will travel to Rincon, Puerto Rico, the closest landfall to Desecheo. The Lazy Parrot Hotel will be the team headquarters for the following 4 days.All equipment and antennas that we shipped have arrived and are in storage. Most of our infrastructure supplies and equipment has been purchased locally is also in our storage facility.
The team will spend Monday through Wednesday completing team training, finalizing assignments, testing generators and pre-assembling antennas. The remaining shopping will also be completed.
The SUP (Special Use Permit) will be presented to us in a special ceremony scheduled for Monday night. With that in hand, we will finally be ready to activate the #6 “most wanted” DXCC entity from February 12th-26th. We hope to be QRV late in the day on the 12th, weather depending.
Visit the new “K5D Store” (the button is about 2/3 down on the Welcome page) on our website: linkext. Link There is a good selection of memorabilia including nice polo shirts, t-shirts, caps, mouse pads, and mugs.
Financial support is being sought and very welcome. The “How you can help” tab on the website makes it easy. For larger contributions; they can be made tax-deductible (consult your tax advisor) if directed through the Northern California DX Foundation. Details are found on our website.
CU in the pileups,
Bob Allphin, K4UEE
Glenn Johnson W0GJ

Press Release # 4
January 26, 2009
We have reserved the special call sign K5D for our upcoming Desecheo operation. The operation will begin late in the day on Feb 12th. - QSO philosophy...because Desecheo is so very rare ( #6 worldwide, #3 in Europe and # 2 in Asia ) there are many, many hams worldwide that need KP5 for an all-time new one. Therefore, we are asking that you not contact the Dxpedition on any band/mode that you have confirmed from a previous DXpedition. This will allow the people who really need a new DXCC entity a better opportunity to get through the pileups.
Our objective is not to establish a world record for contacts...there will be no "greenies", no boxes to check, no competitions for most band/mode QSOs, no certificate or awards for contacting the Dxpedition more times than anyone else. So, if you have KP5 already confirmed on a particular band/mode, we respectfully ask that you exercise restraint. If, late in the DXpedition, we are calling CQ for contacts, we will welcome your call.
The team has encountered higher expenses than anticipated. These mainly involve the transportation and feeding of other personnel that will be traveling to the island with us. Approximately ten other personnel will share our campsite and facilities for the duration of the DXpedition. They will be on
Island with us to provide security and carry out field research. Therefore, we ask that you consider a contribution to the DXpedition to help with these incremental expenses. Just go to _www.kp5.us_ ( and click the button that reads" How you can Help".
73, Glenn Johnson, WØGJ / Bob Allphin, K4UEE, Desecheo 2009 co-leaders

Desecheo Island KP5 Press Release # 2
23 November 2008

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has notified the team that February 12-26, 2009, will be the dates allocated for the radio operation. These dates are coordinated with other USFWS research activities scheduled on other parts of Desecheo Island as well as scheduling USFWS security personnel for the camp.
Fifteen operators will be allowed on the island at any given time. A total of 6-8 stations will be operational, including 160-6 meters.
A reconnaissance trip to Desecheo is scheduled for Friday, December 19. Three team members, USFWS personnel and an UXO (unexploded ordnance) expert will sweep and clear the assigned area of UXO and other hazards. There will be no radio operations.
The 15-man team will assemble in Puerto Rico on February 8, 2009, for mandatory UXO training. The next three days will include team operations training, and last minute preparation and staging of the several tons of equipment for transport. On February 12th, landing will commence and two stations will be immediately activated. Likewise, stations will continue to operate until the final moments before departure on February 26th.
Halfway through the operation, on February 19th, approximately half of the operating team will be replaced with fresh operators for the final week. The team has been diligently planning antennas and propagation paths to take advantage of every possible band opening to Asia, where Desecheo is #2 on the Most Wanted List and to Europe, where it is #3 on the Most Wanted List.
Contributions are being solicited. To assist us and for the latest news, please go to the team’s website: linkext. Link
73, Glenn Johnson, WØGJ / Bob Allphin, K4UEE, Desecheo 2009 co-leaders

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