We made it !
After so many years of planning, sleppless nights, daily issues to solves, it’s hard for us to , realize that FT4TA is now history. We all worked, think, dream “Tromelin” for months !
I’m now writing you theses words from Mayotte. Yesterday, the small plane came back to Tromelin to pick us back, after 10 days spent on this isolated island.. The departure from the island was full of emotions.
Radio operations were executed “as planned”, all communications and amateur radio promotions activities were also a success. We will come back on this part and make a full debriefing later. Previous experience on this type of project shows that any problem in the complex organisation, from transportation, to logistics, energy, etc can occur at any time and make everything fail … hopefully nothing of this happened to us, thanks to the precise organisation, and that is the most important.
On the island, our motivation was there from the first minute until the last one. Our hard work from the time we step on the island of Tromelin allows us, from the first night, to start achieving our objectives.
As low bands lovers, we knew that we had to take any chance from day 1 and erecting the 160m antenna appears to be a very good idea. We are sure low banders have much appreciated that, conditions have never been better than the first two nights. At the same time we also started up to 4 others stations on the higher bands. What a huge work done in only a few hours before dark night, last tunings on the antennas were made with”head lights”. 2000 qsos were in the log at sunrise !
We then stopped all transmission during the minimum amount of time, to finish all antenna work installation, despite of high temperature and strong winds.
We are still amazed by the huge pileups. Despite all team members have already experience from other most wanted, none of us had ever had to face such an incrediblle demand. Up 5, 5 to 10, to 20 … whatever our instructions, bands were filled in seconds. Pileups were so big, that even catching a call, or just letters was a challenging task, and no matter the band, mode or the time of the day !
We had to be fully dedicated and concentrated to keep managning pileups and good rate without making errors in logging. Since we didn’t had to reach a specific qso number, we just keep focused on our initial goals, and following the propagation forecast allows us to get contacted by all part of the world. It seems to had been productive and we had given chance fairly to any part of the world.Despite this, it was sometime very difficult to get respect from the pileup, and more disciplin would had allow us better rates and more contacts.
The FT4TA's stamp !
We took advantage of the exceltent propagation conditions on the higher bands. At our sunrise, focusing on Japan and also West coast US by long path, then Europe all day long, following at our sunset and during the first part of the night by Americas. Of course, we always try to listen to others less populated areas and we believe we also give a faire chance to them. Sometime, getting more than one continent at the same time on the same band was really challenging.
The daily communication with our pilots allowed us to adapt our traffic pattern. Nevertheless, some “advise” were not really realistic. For instance, putting a 20m station 24/24 would had made us loose 12h of radio per day, since this band was totally closed few hours after sunrise and until sunset. We were also been asked to limit our split, and we focus on reducing to the minimum each time it was possible while still being able to keep decoding callsigns. Others were asking more low bands, less low bands, more rtty, less rtty, etc …
With more than 1000qso per day and per operator, while keeping focus on the respective openings, was challenging. In addition, we had to balance our time between the radio sessions, the help in the daily life on the island (cooking, cleaning, etc …), the continuous improvement on our antenna system, the daily satellite communication with our pilot, and finally some hours of sleeping.
Our objectives were clearly announced and supported by the community and we believe we had achieve most of them. In addition we were happy to surprise most of you by providing immediate LOTW confirmation during our activity
A detailled summary will come in due date. It will also be the opportunity to share with you this exciting adventure with all details. We will also come back with statistics, sharing our thoughts on what did work well and what is still to be improved. We will also explain in more details the part of the activity that was much less known by the amateur radio community, but who was probably the most important, since our dxpedition was a wonderful promotion event for amateur radio, towards the TAAF, the officials, schools, journalists etc …
But for now, please get in contact with Yann F1NGP our QSL Manager for all related qsl and log topic. Cedric F5UKW, our webmaster, will try to design and print the QSL card as soon as possible. Just to remember, all direct QSL will be stamped by the dedicated TAAF stamp issued specialy for our dxpedition, and will be send out from Tromelin We have thousands of photos and hundreds hours of video and we are impatient to share some of them to show you the magical of Tromelin. We are extremelty grateful to the TAAF to had allowed us to realised this expedition: THANK YOU
What an incredibe adventure,
73’s de F5UFX for the FT4TA TEAM , qrt.
60th anniversaryMarc FB8BK was the first person to activate Tromelin Back in 1954. He was working for the weather services.
A difficult access
No harbour nor landing in complete safety on beach. The access to the Island is possible by using the 1km runway maintained by the TAAF staff. It’s by the airs that’s we reached Tromelin.
The animals present on the island are primarily hermit-crabs, some marine birds and of course the green turtles which finds on the beautiful beaches of Tromelin a peaceful place to lay.
Team member were Seb F5UFX, Michel FM5CD, Flo F5CWU, Vincent F4BKV, Franck F4AJQ, Fred F5ROP, Guillaume F4FET
Thank you !
Thank you for your help. This operation has been possible thanks to the dozen of contributors !
Most of the time 4 stations have been on the air but up to 6 have been used to communicate in the 3 different modes (SSB, CW, RTTY).
Logs are on Club Log and already on LOTW.