Following info and pics courtesy Cezar VY0M.
For those interested to know a little more about how everything went on Melville, here is the short version account. First station was logged on Aug 4 at 20:24 UTC, and the last on Aug 11 at 9:25 UTC. VY0M made over 4500 QSOs with stations in about 80 DXCCs. Detailed statistics will be posted in due course. During the first two days the propagation was great, which was the reason why I spent most of the time in SSB. However, the propagation went bad for the next three days, when I spent hours CQing at various times, on different bands, making only few contacts. After that the propagation improved, and the last couple of days were also rewarding. Vast majority of the contacts were made on 20m, although I spent a little bit of time on 17 and 30m, with modest results.
The weather was cold, between 0C at night and 3C during the day. I operated from an unheated tent used by the scientific team for storage of their equipment (see photos in the Gallery section). The site coordinates were: 74o54’09.5” N, 109o36’05.0”W. Every now and then I had to go inside the main tent, which was heated, where people gathered in the evening and dinner was served, in order to warm myself a little. I had warm clothing, since I expected this type of weather. However, I forgot about the Arctic wind! It was whipping hard, and the first two days were particularly difficult.
Two days into the operation, due to unforeseen circumstances, we found ourselves in a gas shortage situation, which required a re-evaluation and careful planning of everyone’s needs. Luckily, this coincided with a drop in HF propagation conditions, and so only marginally affected my radio operation. By the time the propagation recovered, we had already discovered a full gas canister which somehow went unaccounted, and to everyone’s relief things were back on track.
The scientific work was carried out by different teams, which were gone most of the day to install or check equipment, and collect data from various sites around the camp. We all gathered in the evening though, both for dinner and socializing. A huge thank you to the entire group for having treated me as one of them.
The day before I arrived, a pack of wolves fed on a dead muskox less than a kilometer from the camp. Other than geese, I haven’t seen other wildlife for an entire week. But this changed just before my departure. Only 15 minutes prior to my extraction plane to land, a polar bear was spot at 600-700 m from the camp, very slowly coming toward us. While the teams have shotguns in case of a close encounter with a polar bear, the position of the camp was specifically chosen 4-5 km inland to minimize the likelihood of such an event. Worth noting, in 12 years of spring and summer work around the camp, no polar bear was ever spot inland. While the plane’s engines scared the animal off for the time being, will the animal return?…
I wish to thank from the bottom of my heart to all the IOTA chasers who sent me nice and encouraging messages. I am very happy for those who were able to contact this operation, but I want you to know that I do sincerely share the sadness of those who weren’t favored by the propagation conditions.
The electronic log for VY0/VE3LYC (NA-009) is ready, along with 60% of that for VY0M (NA-248). I want to have them both uploaded to ClubLog this weekend, and I will post a confirmation note on this website.
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