UPDATE – FT4XU is now QRT. He starts the 30km walk back to the main base then to the boat a few days later.
December 17, 2015 - Nicolas’s QSL manager (F1ULQ) confirms that FT4XU has recently been QRV. He’s using only 50w and a dipole antenna. It’s likely he will be active time to time, then must leave base for a few days intermittently. Activity on 20m SSB only. He’s on Kerguelen until mid-January.
November 11, 2015 – November 12th sees Nicolas leave home and make the long journey to Ratmanoff, Kerguelen Island. A reminder that activity will be limited and sporadic due to work commitments on the island. [Keep an eye on the track of research vessel Marion Dufresne as it soon heads to FT/X with Nicolas on board]
September 24 – Nicolas, F4EGX / FT4XU informs DX-World readers:
My work will bring me to the Southern hemisphere for a scientific mission at Ratmanoff, 30km northeast of Port-aux-Français, Kerguelen archipelago.
My job is to maintain measuring instruments whose electronics work in very rough conditions and to prepare required equipment for future missions. At same time, I will also study King penguins with colleagues and help them in their work.
I leave France mid-November to Réunion Island, and from there on board “Marion Dufresne”, the supply ship of the French Austral territories. It will take approximately 10-15 days to reach the Kerguelen archipelago with a stopover at Crozet archipelago. After few days at Port-Aux-Français station, I’ll have to probably walk 30km to the shelter at Cap Ratmanoff, carrying my stuff on back with heavy rain and strong wind. That is why I will try to travel as light as possible.
About my hamradio activities:
They will be secondary to scientific work. To give a little idea of this activity, I will be isolated for weeks with only daily local marine-VHF non-ham radio-communications with the Port-Aux-Français base. FT4XU is primarily to give news to ham radio friends around the world, like ham-spirit. :) It’s not intended for contest-QSO style.
At the shelter, I will live with other people in a confined space and my colleagues will probably have no knowledge about our hobby. They will maybe have to endure the traffic (QSO) audio noise and this will be potentially a disturbance for them after a long and harsh working day.
I hope to have the opportunity to present to my colleagues the best of ham radio as a pleasant communication, with friendly but disciplined OM.
Although my English is not particularly good, I had nice memories of some great long QSO with Australia, New zealand and Crozet Island when I was in Antarctica as FT5YI in 2008. I want to replicate this scheme, but my working conditions will be even more difficult.
My working conditions will be: FT857, 50W and a dipole antenna which can only be installed at human height, battery powered. There will be no PC for logging, only paper log. Logs won’t be sent while activity because of no internet connection. Our camp will have no electricity, so I will have to work with batteries. They will be charged with solar energy when not needed by the scientific work.
QSLing: I will give my log to Jean-Luc / F1ULQ who will handle cards AFTER I return home; don’t ask for correction before. QSL card will be designed with travel photos and printed AFTER also. As I’m not member of national bureau, only direct exchange will be possible.
Sked: It will not be possible to organize skeds: My only way to contact the world is my ham radio equipment. No internet or no phone connection.
Band operations: Please don’t ask for specific bands, there will be no low bands or “magic” band activity. I cannot carry a lot of material. For weight and volume reasons, I have to take only the minimum and necessary equipment.
Thank you for your understanding
Activities will end, maybe, middle of January 2016. Hope that chance will allow us to cross our antennas in good conditions.
73 F4EGX Nicolas