More news from Easter Island (XR0Y)

    The following news has been released by Stan SQ8X and is published in full:

    We must share very difficult news about things bothering our team. At the very first moment we landed at Easter Island, Murphy has been with us and following each and every step we make. Although the island seems to be an extremely friendly place – full of people keen on helping each other, the beginning of bad luck started at the Hanga Roa’s airport when Stan’s suitcase did not make it to the island. It contained IC-756 PRO III, MicroKEYER II, CW and DIGI interfaces, paddle and ACC coax for IC-756/7000 – crucial ones to key down PA’s. It’s actually Stan’s entire ham radio equipment which is gone now. This means we will probably not operate RTTY at all as we just can´t w/o tools. Hoping the suitcase will be found. But I personally don´t count on it AT ALL.

    The team started to assemble the 40m vertical during very first hours of stay on the island. This was one of those few things that went pretty smoothly. Weather in Easter Island is very changeable and we were told we may expect tropical showers that last very short. Well, it seems we weren’t told everything about Rapa Nui’s WX. On the second day of XR0Y it started to rain. To be exact, to flood our QTH at Puna Pau settlement – 3km out of the town of Hanga Roa. It made assembling antennas impossible for many hours. In addition, it became extremely windy with wind gusts that knocked down 40m vertical already twice. When it stopped to rain, we had to be very quick to set up and raise 160/80 vertical asap. We made it and we are making first top band contacts as this report is written. [Editor: On top of this the team now have a faulty IC-7000]

    The loss of the equipment makes the team depressed and it immediately cancelled some of important goals we wanted to achieve – being on RTTY and to have 3 stations running. We were also very tired after our long trip from Europe. Although these are things that are very disturbing to us, we managed to make almost 1200 QSOs in 6 hours of operating. Besides of the severe WX conditions we continue attempts to put up the Spiderbeam antenna and additional vertical for WARC bands. We’re also experiencing issues related to low amperage of electricity network at the island. Our second IC-756 PRO III switches from time to time without any warning making us very stressed because of unexpected QRX and QSO loss. Is there a Rapa Nui’s poltergeist that bothers DXpeditioners around the world?…All those disturbing moments are the sole reason not one of the team had any chance to see anything except some of main streets in the town so far. We really hope this will change and no more issues will occur during our stay here.

    OK, it’s a time to mention some positive things about our stay at Easter Island. We try to perceive all those issues as something that happens to force us to learn and to get more and more experience for other DX-trips in the future. People of Rapa Nui really help us, even though they don’t entirely understand what our purpose of being there is. There was one surprising exception – one of the lovely ladies working in the LAN Cargo warehouse replied to us “CQ DX CQ DX” and mentioned that she met a team of ham radio dxpedition a few years ago (3G0Y). She still remembers some ham radio slang! Today we asked our neighbors if we could loan some wooden poles for the Spiderbeam. They answered “sure” at once, and… invited us for a meal.

    Hanga Roa really feels Polynesian. Most people living here are descendents of original Polynesian settlers. All flowers, trees, even grass is very exotic to us. Marco CE6TBN admits that even though he comes from Chile – and Rapa Nui is a Chilean island – he feels like visiting another country full of exotic attractions that inspire and give you that unforgettable feeling of experiencing a real adventure.

    Unfortunately we don’t have any Internet access in rooms so our updates will be quite rare and with very few pictures as the only place we can access the web (3km from our QTH) has a very, very slow WIFI access (200kb of log update takes up to 5 minutes…).

    The weather still takes over our dxpedition. It is flooding us with rain constantly. Wind gusts like 80km/h. We are vy concerned abt verticals which already fell down 2-3 times. We cannot install beverage in such wx conditions unfortunately. We must wait for wx improvement, however we must be prepared weather will not improve until this weekend…

    OK, time to have some fresh grilled tuna from the Pacific Ocean…Just saw 2 guys riding a horse in the street drawing a smile on our faces for a while. It´s nice we don´t lose moods totally.

    [Stan SQ8X – Team Leader XR0Y]