South Orkney Islands DX-pedition

During the week of October 21 – 27, 2019 team members and helpers met in Placerville and Los Altos Hills, California to consolidate, test and repack the equipment to be used during the South Orkney Island DX-pedition.

On Friday, October 25th we visited the Elecraft factory to receive 8 K3s stations, including amplifiers, pan adapters and other supporting equipment. During the week antennas were assembled, tuned, tested and marked for easy transport and reassembly.

All software was loaded on Lenovo laptops, QSOs were entered into N1MM and test logs were uploaded to our log search server over the Inmarsat BGAN satellite network.

Photos of the week are posted here

Thanks to all who participated and to the equipment suppliers that are supporting the project, a complete list at:

73, Team VP8/VP8DXU


  1. We had the same questions as many of you.

    No new call signs are being issued for VP8O or BAT, that’s the official position, subject to change in the future. We’ve been told to use /VP8 because we’re operating in an area “administered” by the United Kingdom. The authorities don’t care about short or fast CW call signs.

    Each of you has an opinion and I respect that, I also have opinions. However, we are (and were) working with official channels of at least 3 agencies / organizations. Their decisions are the only ones that count. Under the current leadership – what was done in the past is not acceptable today.

    After twisting our knickers in a knot over this for several months it was time to fold our cards and move on. There are more important items on which to focus.

    GS K5GS

  2. Sorry, just noted you will be active from Signy Island. So, British Antarctic Survey´s Signy Station will be your neighbour.

  3. Signy Station (BAS UK) and Base Orcadas (Argentina) are both located on the South Orkney Islands. Don´t they have ham calls you could borrow for the operation?

  4. Between January – April, 2019 we were in contact with governmental agencies in different countries, and with the ARRL re: a call sign.

    Several administrative processes have changed since the previous South Orkney operation in 2011, and those of the other DX-peditions to the British Antarctic Territories.

    South Orkney is at 60 degrees south, therefore falls under the Antarctic Treaty. South Georgia and South Shetland are above 60 south, so they don’t fall under the treaty. But still they might have an issue under today’s interpretation of the call sign processes. Hopefully this will change in the near future, but exactly when is unknown.

    We’ve been advised that a VP8xxx callsign will not be issued because under the Antarctic Treaty no one country “owns” Antarctica, and we may use any legitimate amateur radio call sign we hold /Portable.

    We are using /VP8 because we are operating at a UK administrative area. Had we been on a US administrative area we would use /KC4. And no, a KC4 call would not have been issued because we are a non governmental organization.

    We accepted the decisions of these agencies and with agreement of the ARRL moved on. VP8DXU is held by one of our team members.

    Agree, not snappy, but it is what it is, and we’ll deal with any FT8 issues.

    GS K5GS

  5. A VP8 callsign can be used from any of the VP8 entities, including South Orkney. I therefore fail to see the need, or logic, in using a complex callsign such VP8/VP8DXU. It is not exactly the snappiest of callsigns on CW and, if they intend using FT8, they will have trouble working other complex calls.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here