- April 2: Fresh update from Cezar, VE3LYC before he departs Ft. Severn:
Iâ€™m still in Ft. Severn, but Iâ€™m leaving shortly. We have word from the land team that they will probably reach the village in 4 hours or so. I received numerous messages and while I will reply to them later, I would like to publicly thank all of you who send me words of appreciation and concern. The story of VY0V will be written but it will take a while, I have so many others things to get back to. However, I feel that it is necessary to clarify a few things right away.
I worked on the possibility of activating East Pen Is. for quite some time, but discussions and planning of VY0V took several months. I want to make it very clear that this project would not have taken place and would not have been successful had it not been for the enthusiasm, effort and skills of Tommy Miles – who is also one of the 5 members of the Council of the Cree community of Ft. Severn. I knew that things up north donâ€™t always go as planned, mainly because of the changing weather conditions. Regardless, there is no question that Tommy made some poor decisions on the fly. Tommy never abandoned me on the island on purpose. It turned out this way because his replacement couldnâ€™t make it. The severe changes in the weather conditions over the first 36 hours of the 56 I spent alone on the island were something nobody up here ever lived. Tommy never â€˜accountedâ€™ for this in his plan. While I had some matches and spare log sheets to start a fire, it was never that cold to push me doing it, because the northern equipment I had from him kept me warm at night. Wildlife was also not an issue, since I had ammunition and deterrents. Believe it or not, the main problem was the shortage of gas. Not only working the pile-up was the purpose I came for in the first plane in that very barren land, but kept me occupied and sane. When the gas/power ended, and without knowing how hard the weather conditions will hit me further, I decided to send a distress signal while I still had radio power. And if the extraction effort was beyond the means of the local community, then it had to be planned accordingly.
With so many people relaying messages around, it had to be some misunderstanding and misevaluation. Worth noting, the distress data was passed in CW. Until a reliable contact was established via CW, I was dismissed by A LOT of rag-chewing SSB operators, whose callsigns are irrelevant. What amazed me was that they didnâ€™t event took the time to listen to a full message from me to evaluate it, despite the fact that they were copying me perfectly well, but deliberately went back to their chewing. NOW, IT WAS THIS ATTITUDE THAT UPSET AND FRUSTRATED ME THE MOST! I told nobody about this until now, because I had to use the radio power wisely. However, this MUST be made public.
Back on the rescue mission, Tommy totally redeemed himself in the end. However, I could have made a lot more contacts had he respected the original power plan we had. I really hated to be sitting there with a radio and unable to operate it. Even without a mast I put up some wire and managed to make QSOs, some with quite distant stations. I could take and did take everything life threw at me in this trip, but reaching the point when the lack of purpose set in was clearly the lowest moment of this trip.
Got to go, there is a flight waiting for me.