October 31, 2015 - All direct QSL requests have been answered
Once again, I wish to use this opportunity to thank everyone who supported this project.
October 22, 2015 - QSL cards arrived from the printer
I will work on the cards next week, aiming to have all the direct requests mailed out as soon as possible.
October 5, 2015 - QSL cards shipped to Canada
QSL cards were shipped to me today from the printing house in Sicily.
September 18, 2015 - VY0M QSL design finalized
Alfio (IT9EJW) and I have also finalized the QSL design for VY0M. Once again, I do not wish to make any preview available, since I prefer the chasers to find it for themselves when the will receive their cards.
September 5, 2015 - VY0M Log Statistics
Log statistics for VY0M are now available at the bottom of the LOG & QSL section of this website.
September 4, 2015 - VY0/VE3LYC QSL design finalized
I am happy to report that Alfio (IT9EJW) has finalized the QSL design for the NA-009 operation. I am sorry but there will be no QSL preview. I am of the opinion that each chaser deserves the chance to 'discover' the QSL card when he receives it.
September 2, 2015 - Update
All members of the research team who collected scientific data this summer at Camp Bounty are now back and camp is closed for the winter. The polar bear spotted at the end of my stay must have been seriously scared off by the plan's engines, because he never returned - to the relief of the scientists. During the last few days I was able to collect the photos taken by various members of the research team during my operation. Separate QSL designs are now in progress for NA-009 and 248.
My thanks to Melissa, Sean, Gillian, and Isolina for sharing with me their photos of the radio camp and wildlife.
August 21, 2015 - IOTA operations approved
Both VY0/VE3LYC and VY0M operations have been approved by the IOTA Manager.
August 16, 2015 - Logs uploaded to ClubLog
VY0/VE3LYC (NA-009) and VY0M (NA-248) logs have been uploaded to ClubLog. The NA-009 log includes 1207 QSOs with 61 DXCC in 6 continents, and NA-248 logs 4504 QSLs with 83 DXCC in 6 continents. I have already removed 83 obvious dupes from the VY0M log. If you don't find your QSO data in a log, please drop me a note and I will check your claim.
August 12, 2015 - A brief operation summary
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 20 m, although I spent a little bit of time on 17 and 30 m, 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.
My gratitude to all the additional donors whose financial support helps me to offset some of the costs. The list of donors will be updated soon.
August 4, 2015 - 8 am (13 UTC)
The word is that the pilots will fly me shortly. I am preparing everything and then take the luggage to the plane. I keep my fingers crossed!
August 3, 2015 - 8 pm (01 UTC on August 4)
The weather on Melville Is. was rainy and foggy today, and didn't allow a landing, I'm hoping for tomorrow morning.
August 3, 2015 - 5 pm (22 UTC)
No word from the people in charge of the logistics regarding my the flight to Melville, approximately 450 km west from here. It is raining pretty good right now, but weather is changing very quickly up here.
August 3, 2015 - Departing for Melville Is. after 21 UTC
I was informed a few minutes ago that my flight won't leave before 4 pm local time, or 21 UTC.. As such, I won't be able to get on the air before 2 UTC on August 4.
August 3, 2015 - VY0/VE3LYC, NA-009 QRT at 8:47 UTC
In 10.5 hours of the radio I logged 1220 QSOs. I don't have a count of the DXCC, but all continents are represented in the log, with the exception of Antarctica, including stations from VK, ZL, FO, and FK. I hope that for a few of those logged this was a new IOTA. I preferred to stay on 20 m to work more single stations. A special QSL card will be printed for distribution for this operation. See Log and QSL section on this website for details. The geographic coordinates of the operating site: 74o43’07.18” N, 94o59’30.01”W.
Overnight the rain started to pour in buckets, and the temperature dropped to 2C. I had no mattress in the tent and it felt really very cold. All equipment is now in my room, and I am going to clean it and pack it. Time in Resolute Bay is UTC - 5 hrs. Have a look at the photos I posted in the Gallery section!
August 2, 2015 - VY0/VE3LYC, NA-009 after 20 UTC
I have been able to rent a small tent and a charged battery, and set camp outside of the original accommodation area. I will be on the air after 20 UTC for several hours, if the propagation is open. The intention is to give NA-009 to those who never logged it.
August 1, 2015 - Resolute Bay
I arrived safe and sound in Resolute Bay, along with all the luggage. Flights were long but otherwise uneventful. While waiting on the Iqaluit airport for the flight to Resolute, an announcement mentioned that another flight, to Cape Dorset had been cancelled, due to weather conditions. It was very cold and rainy in Iqaluit, with low and dense clouds. I was relieved when my flight was announced. It flew first to Arctic Bay, a flight of 3 hours and a quarter, after which it flew another hour to Resolute Bay. It is sunny and calm here, but cold. When I arrived the temperature was 6C, but it will drop to 3C overnight. At this latitude the sun doesn't drop behind the horizon at this time of the year, so there is light around the clock.
July 27, 2015 - A few notes
Travel schedule is as follows (in local time):
Aug 1: Drive from home to Ottawa: dep. 5:15 am and arr. 7:15 am
Aug 1: Ottawa to Iqaluit, dep. 9:15 am and arr. 12:25 pm
Aug 1: Iqaluit to Resolute Bay: dep. 2pm and arr. 5:35 pm
Aug 1 to 3: stay and overnight in Resolute Bay
Aug 3: Resolute Bay to Melville Is.: fly in the morning, attempt to QRV by 22 UTC
Aug 3 to 11: camping on Melville Is. and operating as VY0M
Aug 11: Melville Is. to Resolute Bay: fly in the morning
Aug 12: Resolute Bay to Iqaluit: dep. 6:45 am and arr. 12:15 pm
Aug 12: Iqaluit to Ottawa: dep. 1:45 pm and arr. 4:50 pm
Aug 12: Drive from Ottawa to home: dep. 5:45 pm and arr. 7:45 pm
- I firmly intend to operate both SSB and CW. However, in marginal propagation conditions, CW may become very useful. Don't be afraid to use this mode for the first time and call me at low speed. If I can copy you, I will pick you up!
- Don't call if you copy me calling someone else. We will only waste time, since I won't move to another station until I finish that QSO.
- The pilot for this operation is Bob (WB2YQH@verizon.net; see also the Operator & Equipment section of this website). If you have any requests or suggestions, please forward them to him. Bob will summarize them to me on the air (CW/SSB), from time to time.
- The log will be uploaded with ClubLog after my return back home. Please postpone any questions regarding the log until it is available on line.
- UTC = local time on Melville + 6 hours
A huge Thank You to all donors for their unconditional trust and financial assistance. Rest assured that I will be looking for you in the pile-ups!
July 17, 2015 - Icom Canada joins it!
I am very pleased to announce that Icom Canada have joined the list of generous group donors which committed financial support to this project, and which includes German DX Foundation, International Radio Expedition Foundation, DX News, and Clipperton DX Club. I would like to extend my genuine appreciation for their unwavering support of IOTA operations. Additionally, the list of individual donors includes 94 stations from 22 DXCC entities on 6 continents, whose generosity I appreciate immensely. Donations received ahead of the operation will remain acknowledged in a separate list.
June 26, 2015 - Group sponsors
I can now confirm that scientific work will be carried out on the island between June 29 and August 28. During my stay I will share the camp with five researchers.
Here are a few interesting and important financial facts about this project. While the cost of the project is about 44% of the Sandy Islet (OC-294) one, the cost per person is 78% higher. Despite my sustained efforts to find group sponsors, the results are not that good. There is only one more potential group from which I'm waiting for a decision after the hamfest meeting in Germany this weekend. I am extremely grateful to the group sponsors, but I wish to underline that the total amount I was able to secure from them represents only 57% of the group support obtained for Sandy Islet. Although there is a long list of enthusiastic donors to whom I remain much obliged, I need everyone's support now more than ever before!
June 17, 2015 - Logistics Update
The scientific team will arrive on Melville Is. at the end of the month, and will remain there until late September. All my flight schedules (commercial and chartered) have been confirmed, and tickets purchased. First Air commercial airline has graciously allowed me to have a third piece of luggage 4ft long and 2in diameter containing the two telescopic, fiberglass antenna masts at no extra charge, thus sparing me an additional $200. Made arrangements to purchase and rent batteries and generator for the radio project from Resolute Bay. This equipment will travel to Melville on July 30, since there is no room for it on my flight scheduled for August 3, and it will have to come back with me when I return to Resolute.
I am very grateful to group and individual sponsors from 22 DXCC entities for their generous support, as well as touchy messages. Meanwhile, I continue to look for support badly, in hope that more chasers (and perhaps groups) will be amiable to help me out. This is a financially very demanding project for only one person, so please consider supporting it if you haven't done so already. Thank you!
May 24, 2015 - Operation Camp
This operation will take place from a temporary scientific camp located at Cape Bounty, on the southern part of Melville Is., a few kilometers east of the 110th meridian west, inside the territory that is administered by the Province of Nunavut. The camp includes two areas: a sleeping quarter, protected by a bear fence, which can trigger loud charges to scare the animals away, and a working area for daily activities. There will be no native guards to protect against wildlife, but the scientists will have several rifles for their own protection.
I have been informed by Industry Canada, Spectrum Amateur Services, that while they have exceptionally approved the use of VY0M for this operation, this Event does not match with their RIC-9 criteria for special callsigns. Consequently, VY0M callsign cannot formally be included by their IT group on Industry Canada's list of special callsigns. Instead, I have been advised to inform Radio Amateurs of Canada, who will do the appropriate, general advertisement.
May 8, 2015 - Callsign
Industry Canada have just approved the special callsign I have requested for this operation. My plan is to operate from the east part of the island, which is administered by the province of Nunavut, and the callsign will be VY0M. All contacts will count for CQ Zone 1.
April 10, 2015 - Logistics
The only available transportation to and from the island is a chartered flight from Resolute Bay. I have reached an agreement with a research team which will spend time on Melville Is. this summer. As such, I will be allowed to join some of their scientists who will be flown in on August 3. They made room for only one ham, with maximum 20 kg of luggage including all radio equipment and personal effects. This will not only reduce significantly the cost of my share of the drop-off chartered flight to Melville, but also help with the on-site logistics, particularly the guides required to ensure safety around the clock against wildlife (polar bears), as well as with the necessary camping gear.
Since the island is located at 75 N latitude, the negative effects of any solar flare could be dramatic, rendering the opportunity for radio contacts to virtually zero. I have experienced such severe effects during the last part of my trip to Ulituqisalik Is. (VY0X, NA-208) in August 2010 when only about 40 QSOs were logged with the last 24-hour period. Consequently, I have planned to stay on the island for 7 days, in order to mitigate possible negative propagation effects associated with solar phenomena. I have chartered a plane to pick me up on August 11. Note that I will have access to emergency communication. However, I cannot guarantee that the log will be uploaded periodically.
Based on the available flight schedule, I will travel from Ottawa to Resolute Bay on August 1, via Iqualuit. I will spend two nights in Resolute Bay, and fly on August 3 to Melville. Return to Resolute Bay was booked for August 11, flying back to Ottawa on August 12. Costs associated with any project in the High Arctic will be very high. The budget is estimated at $20k, with just the commercial return airfare from Ottawa to Resolute Bay at $7.4k! Consequently, I would like to kindly ask the IOTA chasers to help me offset some of these expenses by supporting this project.
Until July 2014, the Canadian IOTA group NA-009 consisted of a large number of islands spread over an area about 1200 km east-west and 450 km north-south. The east part of this huge area is administered by the province of Nunavut, while the west part by Northwestern Territories. Worth noting, the east part included Davon Is., ranked #27 by surface area among the world open-sea islands, while the west part Melville Is., ranked #33. It seemed appropriate to divide this large group into two, leaving the east part under NA-009, and creating the new Northwest Territories (Melville) Group or NA-248.
Melville Is. is an uninhabited island with an area of over 42,000 km2. It is divided by the 110th meridian west, with the eastern half belonging to Nunavut and the western half to Northwest Territories. While the eastern part is characterized by plains, the western part includes some of the largest mountains in the western Canadian Arctic, with heights reaching 1,000 m.
The island has little or no vegetation. Where continuous vegetation occurs, it consists of hummocks of mosses, lichens, grasses, and sedges. The only woody species, the dwarf willow, grows as a dense twisted mat crawling along the ground. Only 1–6 cm in height, with round, shiny green 1–2 cm long and broad, the plant has male and female flower clusters on separate plants. As such, the plant's appearance varies, with the female clusters red-coloured, and male clusters yellow.
Interestingly, the animal population is quite diverse: polar bear, Peary caribou, muskox, northern collared lemming, Arctic wolf, Arctic fox, Arctic hare, and ermine are common. A 2003 sighting of a grizzly bear and grizzly tracks by an expedition from the University of Alberta represent the most northerly reports of grizzly bears ever recorded. Melville Island is one of two major breeding grounds for a small sea goose, the brant goose. DNA analysis and field observations suggest that these birds may be distinct from other brant stocks. Numbering 4,000-8,000 birds, this could be one of the rarest goose stocks in the world.
The island is named for Robert Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville who was First Sea Lord when Sir William Parry was the first European to reach the island in 1819. Freezing-up of the sea forced the British explorer to spend the winter at what is now called "Winter Harbour", just west of the 110th meridian west, until August 1, 1820. In the search for Franklin's lost expedition, its east coast was explored as far as Bradford Point (see Boat Reach on the map attached) by Dr. Abraham Bradford in 1851, while its north and west coasts were surveyed by Francis Leopold McClintock, Richard Vesey Hamilton and George Henry Richards in 1853. In 1930, a large sandstone rock marking Parry's 1819 wintering site at Winter Harbour, approximately 5.5 m long and 3 m high, was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
Sponsors & Donors
Thank you for supporting this project!
7K3EOP - Nori
AA2TH - Tony
AA5AT - Don
AB5EB - Mike
AD5A - Mike
AD5WB - Leslie
AB6QM - Mel
CT1EKY - Pedro
CT1ZW - Julio
CT4NH - Luis
DJ3XG - Rudi
DK8UH - Lutz
DL1BKI - Brigitte
DL1BKK - Werner
DL4BBH - Friederich
DL4FCS - Wolf
DL5ME - Mario
EA8AKN - Tony
F-59706 - Patrick
F4BKV - Vincent
F5CQ - Rafik
G0ANH - Darrin
G3KMA - Roger
G3NUG - Neville
G3ZAY - Martin
G4MFX - Graham
G4VMX - Tony
HA0DU - Steve
HB9DKZ - Hans
I1SNW - Claudio
I2YDX - Joe
I4EAT - Fausto
I4GAD - Enrico
I4LCK - Franco
I6COJ - Gianfranco
I8KNT - Nicola
I8XTX - Pasquale
IK4WMA - Enzo
IK8DDN - Nino
IK8TWV - Antonio
IT9DAA - Corrado
JA1BPA - Icko
JA1EY - Don
JA5IU - Yoshi
JA6FIO - Sio
JA8MS - Mom
JA8RJE - Kio
JA9IFF - Jim
JF4VZT - Yuu
JM1PXG - Toshi
JN3SAC - Yano
K0AP - Dragan
K0KG - Keith
K1OA - Scott
K3EST - Bob
K5MT - Merle
K6VVA - Rick
K7SO - Doc
K8GI - Rick
K9AJ - Mike
K9RR - Bill
KA1R - Matt
KD1CT - Bob
KJ3L - Jim
N4WW - Austin
N5ET - Bob
N6AWD - Fred
N6JV - Norm
N6NO - Mel
N6VR - Ray
N8JV - Jim
OE3EVA - Ernst
OE3SGA - Gus
OE3RPB - Reinhard
OE3WWB - Willy
OE6IMD - Mihai
OH2BCK - Ulf
OK1DH - Robert
OM3JW - Steve
ON4BAV - Alain
ON4CD - Ghis
ON4IZ - Doc
ON4XL - Lucien
PA3EXX - Johan
PT7WA - Luke
PY7ZZ - Fred
R6AF - Victor
RA6AR - Tom
RM0F - Yuri
SA3ANZ - Ulf
SM3DMP - Tom
SM3EVR - Tord
SM5FWW - Leif
SM5LNE - Jan
SM6CVX - Hans
UA0ZC - Valery
UA1OIW - Anatoly
UT7WZA - RC Lviv
VA3LX - Paul
VE1VOX - Dana
VE3JV - Wayne
VE3KTB - Pierre
VE3ZZ - Gregg
VE6VK - Russ
VE7DP - Frank
VE7IG - Reg
VK5CE - Craig
VK7BC - Frank
W1NG - Ken
W2FB - Steve
W3AWU - Al
W4DKS - Dan
W5BXX - Dave
W5BOS - Lanny
W5GAI - Skip
W5PF - Paul
W5VPO - Charles
WB2YQH - Bob
WC6DX - Will
WM9F - Jeff
YF1AR - Budi
built by IZ1CRR