Update: Jarvis Island

    UPDATE – August 10, 2011

    Due to a scheduling conflict with the Braveheart, the Jarvis DXpedition has been postponed to 2012 November-December.

    September 1, 2010 — On August 31, 2010 the Refuge Manager at US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) notified the Radio Expeditions Inc team that it will receive a permit to conduct the next DXpedition to Jarvis Island (KH5).

    The selection of a team to visit Jarvis is the most recent step in a long procedure that began in 2009 June with a visit by Radio Expeditions management team members to the Honolulu FWS office.

    The administration of the Jarvis Island National Wildlife Refuge is conducted according to goal set in the Comprehensive Conservation Plan, which was finalized on 2008 Sep 24. You can read this plan here.

    During the first half of 2010 the FWS staff developed a draft “Compatibility Determination for Amateur Radio Operations at the Jarvis Island National Wildlife Refuge”. This document contains the rules and constraints for DXpeditions at Jarvis. Simultaneously Radio Expeditions Inc submitted an initial application for a permit and, together with the owner of the “MV Braveheart”, met again with the refuge management staff in April to discuss plans, constraints, and options.

    The draft compatibility determination was made available on the FWS website on 2010 June 21 and public comments were solicited. Radio Expeditions Inc was among the groups commenting on the draft. The public comment period closed on 2010 July 5.

    The FWS Honolulu office staff reviewed the comments, made a number of changes, and submitted a final draft for approval at their regional office in Portland, Oregon. On 2010 July 28 the final version was released and is attached to this message. Among the many constraints is the limit of one DXpedition per 5-year period.

    Revised applications for a permit were accepted until a deadline of 2010 August 25. Attached are the application documents submitted by Radio Expeditions Inc. The constraints in the Compatibility Determination required a radical restructuring of our plans, reducing both the number of stations and the time on the air.

    Since more than one group submitted an application which met the requirements of the compatibility determination, a lottery among the qualified groups was held at the FWS Honolulu office by the refuge manager on 2010 August 30. Radio Expeditions Inc was fortunate to be selected.

    Due to the time required to establish the rules for amateur radio operations in the Refuge, the late selection date, and the lead time required to schedule and prepare the MV Braveheart, the expedition has been postponed one year until 2011 November. November remains the best month to visit Jarvis Island from a propagation standpoint, with the largest combination of openings predicted to Europe on both 160/80 and 12/10 meter bands.

    Members of the email distribution list will receive additional messages over the next few months on the DXpedition plans, including details about how the project will comply with the many restrictions imposed on amateur radio operations at Jarvis.

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    Dear Applicants for a permit to carry out an amateur radio expedition to Jarvis Island in 2011,

    We received 2 applications for this expedition and reviewed both of them carefully to ascertain if the described operation met the constraints described in the stipulations of the Compatibility Determination for Jarvis Island National Wildlife Refuge to engage in amateur radio operations.

    Both applications met those standards. Because we are only able to issue one such permit every 5 years we identified the application that would be given the permit by a coin toss witnessed by two individuals unfamiliar with the situation. The random result of this coin toss is that the permit will be issued to Radio Expeditions, Inc. represented by Eric Scace.

    We appreciate the hard work, patience, and cooperation of both parties applying in working with us to ensure that these kinds of activities can be carried out in a manner compatible with the wildlife conservation purposes of the National Wildlife Refuge.

    Sincerely,

    Beth Flint
    Wildlife Biologist
    US Fish and Wildlife Service
    Pacific Reefs National Wildlife Refuge Complex
    300 Ala Moana Blvd. Room 5-231
    Honolulu, HI 96850

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