FT5ZM Amsterdam Island DXpedition Recap

18Feb14

The FT5ZM Amsterdam Island DXpedition is now QRT.

DX Engineering sent a large amount of equipment on this DXpedition, and recently had the chance to catch up with Valerie Hotzfeld, NV9L, about the progress of the voyage.

From Valerie:
They flew from the US to Hong Kong to Perth. Once there, their journey took 9 days via the Braveheart to Amsterdam Island. The French welcomed them on their 1st day with a celebration. Cake, wine, cheese and lobster were some of the items on the menu.

The next morning they got to work, as they had lots of antennas to erect. They had antennas (verticals and beams on towers) at both camps (Metaf & Antonelli) for 80, 40, 30, 20, 17, 15, 12, & 10. They also have a vertical at Antonelli for 160.

The terrain is very difficult. This island used to have cattle. To support them, grass was planted on top of this lava rock terrain. So imagine wild grass growing, chest high in some places. This on top of about 2 feet of dead grass on top of lava rock. This makes it very difficult to navigate, let alone put up towers, guys and feed line. Camp Antonelli is about a 1 & 3/4 hour walk and can only be done in the daylight.

As I’ve been told, they have set up some sort of communication between the 2 camps so each laptop can successfully send a download of all its QSO’s to a master laptop. The master laptop then transmits a complete log to Dean here in the states who deletes and replaces the current Club Log every time; rather than merge today’s logs with the existing logs.

Ft5ZM towers

Hardware is loaded onto the Braveheart in Perth, Australia for the FT5ZM DXpedition.

The temps have been in the 50’s almost every day with some showers bringing the temps down to the mid-to-high 40’s. Most of the guys are doing shifts of 12 on and 12 hours off. There is a small village of houses within 5-10 minutes of Metaf. This is where the 20 or so French scientists live; 18 men and 2 women. They are eating very well; 3 meals a day when they’re not operating and can walk into the small village to enjoy it. Seeing seals and penguins walking around is commonplace. It is said that if you get bit by any of these animals (seals, walrus or penguins), you only have a few minutes to chop off whatever got bit, or else you could die from the bacteria. They have also seen some whales nearby.

Valerie ~ NV9L

The DX Engineering-provided equipment left about seven months ago, was packaged in containers in Australia and had to survive a nine-day boat trip to the island.

It could have easily had issues, but we’re happy to hear that it has been a raging success, helping to propel the success of the entire FT5ZM Amsterdam Island DXpedition. More than 3,000 contacts were made on 160 meters, with much credit going to DX Engineering’s Four-Square packages.

Stay tuned for more from the team.

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One Response to “FT5ZM Amsterdam Island DXpedition Recap”


  1. 1 DX Engineering sponsors VP8 DXpedition | DX Engineering

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