FT4JA – Juan de Nova DXpedition

    The entire FT4JA team is now safely back in Mayotte after 2 days at sea. Just a bit more than 2 weeks ago we were arriving on Juan de Nova. A French island in the middle of the Mozambique Channel. It took us 36hrs to set-up our camp: shelters, generators, antennas, stations. We started our operations in the afternoon of March 30th. Immediately, all stations were on the air and the pileups were big, as expected!

    As planned, we did not waste one minute and we started following the propagation plan to give everyone a chance. Orienting the pileup by area was not too difficult and almost everyone was collaborating, understanding the propagation rules.

    With only 10 ops to manage radios and the life at the camp, we achieved to keep a 10,000 QSOs per day rate! We did not sleep much ! [read full report]


    April 11/12 – All team on board, happy with the results of our DXpedition. Now starting the 2 days sailing back to Mayotte. Thanks everyone for your support ! 73 from FT4JA.


    QRT – 105,000 QSOs reached

    April 10 @ 0600Z – We have planned dismantling antennas and stations. The organisation is quite difficult to match with the high tide, we have only short windows, and wind/waves makes things difficult. We had to QRX few hours this afternoon, and we might also take breaks tomorrow to put bigger antennas down and load/unload the zodiac.

    Our plan is to have a full setup until tomorrow morning (except 6m and second inband antenna for 10m). Then the night after we will be QRV only 10m to 40m until 00:00z Monday. It things goes well we should leave this island Monday in the afternoon.

    We still have good rates on all bands, and we should soon reach the 100 000 QSOs mark, what a great news !  We will focus on our objectives until the very end.

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    Exclusive image for DX-World.net

    April 7 @ 1900Z – Good propagation is back again on high bands, and that is of course excellent news ! We are keeping as many stations on air on the opened bands, staying until they close. We had excellent runs with NA west coast on different bands; we will continue to focus on difficult areas.

    Unfortunately, we will have to work on the dismantelling plan to match with the necessary high tide. Depending on the high wind these days this might makes things difficult for loading/unloading things with the zodiac – we’ll keep fingers crossed…We plan to leave the island next Monday. More info with the remaining antennas day by day soon.

    Operators are tired by the long radio shifts and high temperature but are all still giving their best to put everyone in the log. We really appreciate the cooperation of everyone when we ask to QRX to give a chance to a special area.

    The next weekend we will concentrate on the band/modes with the most QSOs in the log to give all a last opportunity for an ATNO.

    FT4JA Website

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    Exclusive image for DX-World.net

    April 6 @ 1800Z – Propagation seems to decrease from day to day. Signals on high bands are not what they were last week. Bands are also closing earlier. The last days we even had no opening with NA on 20, while the band stayed opened all night long the days before. More than ever this is the right time to send your observation to your local pilot. We take into consideration all useful comments to plan our activities.

    Good news, thanks to a better weather today, the 160m antenna has been fixed.

    At the time I’m writing this news, we are working on 10 – 12 and 15m with NA, we will stay until bands close. We have checked with W6 long path on 15m at 14-15z with no success, there is another opportunity tomorrow morning around 4z for the LP on 17-20m.

    For that night the plans will depends on the propagation on 17-20. But if possible we will work AS-OC, then EU, and finally NA/SA. Same as last night we will also be on 40-30- 80 and of course 160m.

    We try to upload logs as frequently as possible to prevent for dupes. The 15m plan with two stations all time provided many uniques with nearly 17 000QSOs on that band, with long openings world wide.

    We are focused to get you in our log, good luck !

    IMG_2214 [1024x768]

    April 6 @ 0500Z- There was no 160m activity last night because the 26m high vertical was de-tuned. As we explained before we got high gusts of wind yesterday and the wires of the capacitive hat moved and seems to be not at the right place. The wind dropped down a bit and we’ll try to fix that today. We made many QRX yesterday during the storms to fix several problems on the camp and protect our 3 generators. By chance, nothing has been damaged !

    Right now @05:00z wind is still blowing but not at the same level. The tide has been very high yesterday and last night, with waves coming 20m closer than usual. This is positive for the VDA !

    80m was very noisy but we ran on that band a part of the night. Last night, when we changed the operators, there was a lot of lightnings all around the island. Still massive clouds in front of us this morning.

    Time to start operating for the fresh operators. See you on the bands !

    April 5 – Days after day the situation is different. Last night propagation was not as usual ! High bands closed very early with no conditions on 17 & 20m right after our sunset.

    Our hard work on low bands RX antennas has finally paid. Many QSO were achieved on 80 and 160m with all parts of the world, OC/JA, then EU and finally SA/NA including West Coast. We’ll do the same next night.

    During daytime we are focused on the high bands. The daily runs on 15m are providing a lot of unique callsigns, and we’ll keep a station on that band till the end of the operation.

    Life at the camp is going well. All operators are very tired due to extreme heat and sleep deprivation but still very motivated. We have extremely heavy rain since a couple of hours, as well as high winds. Up to now, all the equipment is ok and nothing has been damaged. Let’s hope the situation will improve quickly as our camp is not equiped to face such storms. As soon as possible we’ll call our skipper to ask for weather predictions. We’ll keep you updated about that point.

    We are trying to upload the log at least twice a day. Do not hesitate to check it on ClubLog and help us to prevent useless dupes !

    April 4 – All is going pretty well. We reached 50K QSO last night and we continue to run the pile-ups that are at certain time of the day really big. We try to exploit the bands from their opening till the end of the propagation. This allow us to work all continents from East to West and log many unique callsigns.

    We have to report a lot of dupes in the log, despite the online-log that is available on Club Log. We ask you not to call again until the log is online in order to give a chance to other stations.

    Last night was very noisy on low bands and even with RX antennas we met difficulties to pick up calls. We’ll keep our efforts every night up to the end of the operation.

    Weather is still good but heat is terrible in absence of wind. In the shelters we are well over the 50° celcius during many hours of the day. This makes the operation complicated and we are taking regular short breaks to fresh-up a bit.

    To conclude we remind everyone that operator’s instructions have a real importance! Fighting during 5 minutes to keep the pile-up QRX is a waste of energy and we would really appreciate a better cooperation.

    See you on the air if you did not make the contact yet !

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    Exclusive image for DX-World.net


    April 2 – Day 4 and first weekend. We have now entered in the daily routine of the dxpedition: operating, eating, sleeping. During the 3 first days we kept a daily rate over 10K QSO.

    Up to seven stations are on the air simultaneously. It is not possible of course to keep them all the time active with 10 ops. We are managing operator’s shifts to activate as many of them during best propagation period.

    Like Tromelin in 2014, the best band seems to be 15m. We try to keep one station on SSB and one on CW to maximize the chances and increase the number of unique callsigns. [read more..

    April 1 @ 11:00z – RX antennas have been set today for EU/NA, JA & West-Coast. They will setup a 4 SQ for 40m tomorrow. Right now, only single vertical is running on 40m. They will move their TX QRG on TB. 1821.5 has been suggested. Waiting to get more info about noise they have to deal with.


    March 31 – After our trip by boat we finally anchored nearby the lagoon entrance. It took a complete day to bring all equipment ashore, dealing with low and high tides in the lagoon.

    We built the radio camp and antennas under extreme conditions. No wind at all during those first days. At night time, the temperature doesn’t really decrease and we have thousands of mosquitoes showing up, looking for fresh meat. Hopefully the two tents are well done. The sea is close but very warm, with sharks coming very close to the shore.

    Prior to the expedition, we worked with satellite pictures. We met on the island a configuration slightly different than expected but we have been able to set-up all antennas as planned. The field around the camp is not a soccer field but rather a place with high bushes (arbustes, broussailles in French) that makes any move a challenge! In addition, there’s spiders as big a mans hand everywhere. That’s Juan de Nova! Meanwhile, the lagoon and sky colors are just amazing!

    If you can hear 50.102 beacon, please report to ft4ja@dxfor.me and call them. They keep blanks to listen for any callers.

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    March 30 @ 19:30z – The team are now active 160-10m. At this time over 4000 QSOs logged.

     March 30 @ 15:05z – Shortly after 15:00Z, FT4JA running with six stations; 30CW, 20RTTY, 17SSB, 15SSB, 12SSB & 10CW.

    March 30 @ 12:37z – FT4JA started operations on 15SSB. Operator reported the WX is extremely hot and was very hard work to set up camp. A second and third station then commenced activity on 24SSB at 12:38z and 28CW at 12:44z. A 4th station started on 17SSB at 12:54z. [Within the first 90 mins of activity they had over 1000 QSOs in the log]

    March 29 @ 18:45Z – We start disembarking at sunrise as planned. We have not been able to carry all equipment before low tide. Meanwhile, we started to setup the camp on the north side of the island, shelters are ready as well as most of the antennas. Tomorrow morning at SR we will complete the antenna setup as well the generators. We plan to be QRV around noon. As expected, conditions are extreme, very high temperature and no wind make progress difficult.

    March 29 @ 16:30Z – The (exhausted) team on Juan de Nova still setting up. Huge amount of work to do in high temperatures and humidity.

    March 29 @ 06:00Z – FT4JA team now on Juan de Nova island and setting up camp. This will take all day. Scheduled to QRV this evening (JDN time).

    FT4JA website


    March 28 @ 17:00Z direct from yacht Antsiva — After 2 days aboard and almost 2000 qso as /MM, we are now anchored offshore Juan de Nova. As our documents indicates, we’ll be allowed to desembark tomorrow at sunrise. The team is impatient to put feet on the island and start setting up the camp. The desembarking plan is already defined. We’ll have to setup in parallel the radio camp as well as the generators, antennas and life camp which represents a huge amount of work. Depending on the conditions, and if we do not meet any difficulties, we should be on the air by the end of the day, March 29th.

    FT4JA team anchored off Juan de Nova island
    FT4JA team anchored off Juan de Nova island

    March 28 @ 12:30Z – The team has reached the outer reefs of JDN. As per earlier message, due to low tides, they will be unable to land all material & equipment by nightfall today. Instead, as scheduled, they should be QRV by the evening of 29th (their local evening).


    March 28 @ 08:25Z – Making good progress, the team’s approx. 2 hrs sailing time away from first sight of Juan de Nova Island. Because of low tide they will not be able to get all material off the yacht, so likely not QRV until tomorrow evening (29th) as expected.


    March 27 @ 12:00Z – As the team voyage to J.D.N, some of the ops are signing 5R/F5UFX/MM on 12 SSB. They report all is ok and are impatient to arrive on the island and get QRV!


    March 26 @ 1400Z – Team now underway (on board the Antsiva) to Juan de Nova. E.T.A March 29th



    FT4JA Website

    Boat tracker

    March 26 @ 0900z — We are a few hours before departure. Yesterday, under a beating rain, we carried out the loading of our equipment on the boat.

    The 4 crates, sent by cargo one and a half month ago, were set at disposal at the right time by our forwarding agent. Once the documents signed by the customs agents of Mayotte, the team started to work. 3 hours were necessary to tranship all the equipment using the tenter boat. That gives a rather precise idea of the possibilities that we will have during the unloading, even if it should be underlined, conditions will be different because of the absence of harbour on Juan de Nova.


    The afternoon was devoted to the last purchases on Grande-Terre. We bought all last minute items that will help us to live in totally independently during two complete weeks.

    We will embark this afternoon around 14:00 and it is envisaged to weigh anchor at 16:00 (1400z).

    Conditions are for the moment very good, with a sky partially veiled and a temperature of 34 degrees celcius. We will activate in the next hours the GPS beacon which will enable you to follow the route of the ship and know its position in real time.

    We will use the time of the boat crossing to organize the unloading and define a coherent strategy to assembly all stuff. In addition, let us remind you that a convention was signed between the team and the TAAF agency which describe in a very precise way the plan of establishment of the antennas and list in an exhaustive way the prohibitions and restrictions imposed to our team.

    Our arrival on the island is envisaged the morning of the 29th. Then, we will spend a whole day to assembly of the antennas and the life camp, splitted on two distinct sites.

    Let’s hope that the conditions of propagation improve, so that each one can have the opportunity of hearing and contact us. Thank you for your messages, calls and encouragements. They are much appreciated. The team is very motivated to fulfil its commitments.

    We have uploaded some pics on the album called “Mayotte”

    73 de FH/ FT4JA
    Juan de Nova 2016 expedition

    March 24 @ 06:30z – Remaining seven ops arrive Reunion island waiting for flight to Mayotte. While waiting to board they confirmed the rendezvous to pick-up the radio equipment shipped from France. In a few hours, the team will be complete in Mayotte where loading of the boat will then take place.


    March 23 @ 17:00z – Seven FT4JA ops are now at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and are waiting for the flight to Mayotte. All is ok. This morning they received a short mail from N5FG who will not be able to handle the job of NA/SA pilot due to a sudden health problem. Laurent W0MM, who has been working with the team last few years is the new NA/SA pilot. Website and contact forms have been updated.

    Here’s a picture of the ops taken by team member, Christian EA3NT. You can also read below the final press release by the team before QRV.



    LAST PRESS RELEASE BEFORE QRV – After more than a year of work, we are happy to finally get into the thick of it. The team will be complete in Mayotte on Thursday around noon! The schedule for the coming days is pretty full, with the last purchases and technical checks and the loading of the boat. We will sail away on Saturday. Our chief pilot will communicate updated information on the unloading and installation. At this time, we hope to be on the air on the evening of March 29 after a full day spent assembling.

    A page displaying in real time the progress of the team has been set up:

    As a reminder, we will use the band plan shared with our friends at VK0EK. Some windows are very narrow and we will have to live together in all understanding, without departing from the intended plan, at the risk of generating confusion and disruption between the two activities. The band plan is available on both websites. Our different pilots are available to transit informations to the team (JJ3PRT, ON9CFG, N5FG). The 10 operators will not have access to their personal emails and because of a lack of internet connection we will not be watching the DX-Cluster. No need to transit messages for us through that medium.


    Every day, we will transmit via satellite our logs to our chief pilot F5UKW who will upload them to ClubLog. However, the “learderboard” feature will not be activated. No modification or search of the log will be made by our pilots. If in doubt, work us again.


    The QSL manager is Flo, F5CWU. He will process OQRS and the direct QSL requests as well as the cards received via the bureau. The ClubLog OQRS will be active by the end of the operation. We strongly recommend its use. Later, the logs will be loaded on LoTW and eQSL.


    As part of our expedition on Juan de Nova island, we are pleased to announce that a stamp set will be issued by T.A.A.F. QSL cards sent direct will automatically have the envelope/stamp. We will unveil this commemorative object later.

    Everyone connected to the FT4JA project would like to thank all of you who have already contributed in one way or another to the project. It would not be at this stage without the tremendous mobilization of clubs, foundations and individual donors.

    The early donation program will be closed on Friday 25 at 1200Z. The “donors” page of our website will not be updated further after that specific time. http://www.juandenovadx.com/en/how-to-help-us/

    73 and we’ll see you on the air in a few days

    FT4JA – Juan de Nova 2016