[NEWS UPDATE] – F6EXV reports things are slower than anticipated for the extension / permission for Thierry to restart on the HF bands. As soon as it’s known when, updated info will be published. 

[JANUARY 22] – Video teaser below produced by Patrick F2DX. 

FT8WW was active on HF bands from December 25, 2022 to January 14, 2023. He is now awaiting the extension of his authorization which should be issued by the TAAF (Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises) after the IPEV (Institut Paul Emile Victor) approval. He could then operate again on HF bands until March 15, 2023.

[JANUARY 22] – Picture in post header is of Thierry operating SSB on QO-100 satellite. The entire Direct TV transmission by Christian, F5UII can be seen here

Thierry F6CUK operates the ground station and broadcasts beautiful images taken on Possession island. Thierry proposes daily his new images of the Faure station on the satellite QO100, at 10 hours UTC currently on 10499250 kHz. You may find him daily on SSB 10 489 880 kHz, QO100 sat à 1020z.

[JANUARY 21] – Thierry is still awaiting authorization to resume HF traffic. QO-100 activity continues with SSB mainly on 10489.880MHz without restrictions and DATV tests in anticipation of planned contacts with 16 schools.

[JANUARY 19] – Log is updated with latest QO-100 QSOs. At the moment (0930z) still no news on permit extension. If you have not already read the interview given by Thierry to OH2BH & K0IR, then here it is

[JANUARY 15 update by Thierry FT8WW] So I started the night of December 25th. My authorization for HF traffic was valid for 3 weeks between my arrival at the base and January 21st. So it actually was from December 25 to January 14. About 21,000 QSOs were made. I took a few decisions on purpose:

  • Traffic on few bands. Only 10, 14 and 21 MHz were used with an afternoon on 18 MHz for testing. This is to concentrate my traffic and give as much contact as possible to OM.
  • Traffic in CW and FT8, only. The remoteness of Crozet from the large ham radio populations and the inefficient propagation guided this choice. Despite what some say, FT8 is currently the most effective way to make QSOs in difficult conditions. Even in CW when the bands were empty, I was able, in FT8, to make contacts. I was also able to eat on a corner of the table while watching the traffic go by. I’ve been active in CW whenever propagation allowed, taking into account the time restrictions that the scientists imposed on me (one measure per day giving at least 5 hours of downtime for me and by being informed of the hours in the mornings, therefore without any real planning). If I had done SSB, I would undoubtedly have contacted the best equipped stations, but left out those with more limited means.

I slept little to make QSOs at nights on 10 MHz and rested during the famous measurement. I faced very difficult weather conditions. 3 times I had to go down the Lévy with gusty winds exceeding 100 km/h. It was often necessary to repair in the rain, in short, alone, it was not always easy to stay as long as possible on the radio. Finally, community life has its imperatives and obligations. I do not live on a desert island, but with a group of people and some tasks have to be performed.  The difficulty of the pile-up must also be taken into account. Certainly you had trouble making yourself heard, but here, it is not simpler, be convinced.

For those who remember, at first I was only allowed to install a V-dipole against the facade of a building. You could see from the photos that in fact I have an 8m Spiderbeam mast with 2x 10m Levy and a vertical dipole currently on 21 MHz.

The continuation of the project. I am in contact with the Paul Emile Victor Institute which manages the scientific work on the base. An analysis of the magnetism measurements is in progress. It is following this analysis that I will, I hope, have an extension for the transmission authorization. So I’m waiting for the decision. My departure is scheduled for the return of the boat around March 20th. I know everyone is impatient for me to continue, but I can’t do anything more at the moment on HF bands, but the QO-100 activity will continue (no restrictions).

These are the outlines of the current situation. Thank you to all off you which, through my manager, have shown their confidence in me. Thank you to everyone who spent hours looking for me and trying to reach me. Thank you all, I will try to continue to satisfy as many ham radios as possible.

[JANUARY 14 @ 0900z] – As a reminder, Thierry’s permit for the HF bands is until January 14th and he will stop broadcasting later today. We are all crossing fingers that the authorization will be extended. Transmissions on QO-100 will continue on SSB and Thierry will also transmit images and videos on DATV. Today, FT8WW will start activities on 15m (either CW or FT8) at approx 1000z. Over 20K QSOs now reached – @crozet2022

[JANUARY 12 @ 0800z] – FT8WW is approaching 20K QSOs in the log. Breakdown is: 74.5% FT8, 22% CW, 3% SAT. Winds appear to be abating too. 

[JANUARY 11 @ 1630z] – The G5RV antenna has been taken down as strong winds expected during the night. There will be no activity tonight on 20/30. QRV on 15m until band dies. 

[JANUARY 9] – FT8WW has been validated for DXCC credit. OQRS open soon – Below is a reminder of the FT8WW QSL card design. @crozet2022

[JANUARY 9 @ 12:15z] – F6EXV let’s us know that a geomagnetic measurement was taken today on Crozet. This means FT8WW will not be QRV until 1300z. Check 21045 – new frequency because of TN8K pileup. 

[JANUARY 8] – Today between 0300-0900z, Thierry was off air. Now (0915z) antennas are back up again having been taken down due to earlier high winds. The station signing FT8WW on 20 FT8 (at 0915z) is the real one. Log check here

[JANUARY 7] – The milestone of 15K QSOs has been reached. This includes the most recent QO-100 contacts. For info, there are no restrictions for Satellite contacts, so appointments with schools will apparently be scheduled after January 26th – source. Out of interest, the first Digital Amateur TV transmission over QO100 from FT8WW on Crozet took place – picture below was received by F5UII.

NOTE: At 16:30z on January 7th, FT8WW on 20m FT8 went temporarily QRT as winds are very strong again. Antennas taken down for the moment.

[JANUARY 6 @ 0200z] – The good news is that FT8WW is again active on 30m FT8. Any activity on January 4th after 1820z until January 6th at 0130z is a pirate. LoTW certificate has been applied for. QSL design finished – cards to be printed soon.

[JANUARY 5] – At 11:45z today, we got word from F6EXV that the vertical dipole Thierry is using has broken in strong winds. No word yet on how quickly it can be repaired due to the adverse weather conditions on Crozet currently. However, the G5RV antenna he’s also using (which was taken down yesterday) should be operational again soon. Keep an eye on FT8WW website for more. WX supposed to improve tomorrow (Jan 6th). 

In other news, latest log upload shows just over 14K QSOs made. 78% FT8 QSOs, 19% CW QSOs and remaining percentage is SSB SAT QSOs. A further breakdown shows AS = 25% worked, EU = 40% worked and NA = 29% worked. Check here for log stats. Meanwhile, FT8WW on the 4th of January on 30m was again a pirate.

[JANUARY 4] – Winds are expected strong tomorrow (5th) on Crozet, therefore Thierry will take the G5RV antenna down later this afternoon (his local time). Therefore,  no operation during his night tonight, all day tomorrow, and all next night on 20/30m. He thinks he can leave the vertical antenna up, and this one only works on upper bands.  Depending on WX, he might try some activity on upper bands, but after 10h GMT in any case. (thanks F6EXV)

Meanwhile, most recent log upload completed. 13.5K QSOs made so far. This new upload includes QO-100 QSOs. Any recent 40m activity was the result of a pirate – source

[JANUARY 1, 2023]As a reminder, the traffic interruption period in order to take measurements of the Earth’s magnetic field is 5 hours between 05:00 UT and 10:00 UT. Any appearance of FT8WW on HF bands during this period should be considered suspicious —  website.

[DECEMBER 31] – Today, Thierry made the first QO-100 QSOs. Note: FT8WW will do SSB only on satellite. SSB on HF bands still to come. Latest log update here.

[DECEMBER 29] – Following info was recently published on the FT8WW website. We reproduce below:

The installation on the base is done in a sustained way, a big thank you to the logistics team of the base for their precious help, and according to a capricious weather which often upsets the provisional schedule.

The Levy gives very satisfactory results, but with sustained attention, violent winds having a tendency to loosen the shrouds. Still thanks to the wind, the installation of the QO-100 dish was laborious and the adjustments are in progress despite the intense cold. The weather forecast announces winds of more than 100 km/h for several days and Thierry is crossing his fingers that the dish will stay on the island! The vertical will be installed soon depending on the weather conditions.

Credit: FT8WW webpage

Out of respect for Thierry, his courage and tenacity, the derogatory or even odious comments that have been published are unacceptable, the authors will recognize each other. On the other hand, he is very grateful for the thanks and encouragement from the many OMs who will also recognize themselves. He also needs to rest, eat and must devote time, weather permitting, to complete and perfect his installation.

In order to close some controversies, radio traffic is only, for the moment, on 20 and 30 meters (14 and 10 MHz) depending on the propagation, which for the moment only allows traffic in FT8 with MSHV and CW. Any further apparitions of FT8WW on other modes or bands, at this time, are the product of pirate “ham radios” and should be ignored. The only way to check if you have contacted Thierry is here 

Not in the log? Search on the right frequencies and modes, say thanks to the “pirate” or intentional jamming. Also, please take into consideration that the pile-ups are gigantic with their lots of indiscipline and that the following basic rules of traffic, which characterize our seriousness and our reputation must be respected:

Be patient. Listen, listen, listen or watch, watch, watch (for FT8)! When the DX is in QSO with another OM, never transmit. When called by the DX, be extremely brief. Never repeat the call sign of the DX station, he knows very well that he is the one you are calling! Read carefully the manual of WSJT-X or other FT8 traffic software!

Credit: FT8WW webpage

DECEMBER 28 – Now over 5000 QSOs in the log. 93% of QSOs so far on FT8. AS, EU & NA roughly same percentage worked, ie ~30%. Meanwhile, Thierry has been working some more on the antenna side of things. 

DECEMBER 27 – Thierry was made aware of the issue of his TXing period on FT8. From now on he will transmit 1st (00 and 30).

DECEMBER 26 @ 1100z – Beware of the pirate station pretending to be FT8WW today on 30m starting about 0900z. CW is expected after 12:00z also today by the genuine FT8WW. 

If you contact Thierry via his personal email address it will not be read – he does not read one email – nor is he connected to any DX clusters. Best way to communicate any issues is via crozet2022@orange.fr

The official Crozet website, twitter account (or here on DX-World) will report on when the real station is QRV. Below is a preview of the QSL card:

QSL preview

DECEMBER 25 @ 1830z – FT8WW started CW operations shortly before 1825z on 30CW. Listen to a recording here. Meanwhile, first log upload has been completed – check here

DECEMBER 25 @ 1100z (courtesy official website).

FT8WW’s first QSO on 30m, in FT8 of course! It wasn’t on CW. The resulting tsunami with over 500 QSOs in 4 hours!

So I started, I only have one antenna, the wind forbidding me for the moment to erect the second for frequencies above 18 MHz.

But as I don’t want to change bands too much, I’m going to stay on 10 MHz and maybe 14 MHz depending on the openings. I’d rather do CW or SSB, but the spread decided otherwise (you saw yourself tonight). FT8 is in MSHV, I have 250W and 3 queues.

It’s windy, foggy and very humid.

Thierry – FT8WW. 

[DECEMBER 25 @ 0005Z] – In time for Christmas, Thierry started activity from Crozet Island as FT8WW on 30m FT8. Good luck!

[DECEMBER 23] – On the official Crozet DXpedition website new pictures appear. We repost here with thanks to F6CUK & F6EXV.

Installation of the QO-100 dish support.

Preparation of guy wire posts

The mast is raised !

[DECEMBER 22] – Antenna assembly begins on Crozet. Currently, activity not expected before the weekend. 

[DECEMBER 20 @ 1530z] – It’s a work in progress, but the picture shows Thierry’s radio room. The DX world eagerly awaits his first signals, and of course his callsign ! 

I’ve been on the base since this morning (its 11:18 here) and the trip on the Marduf went well and just a little woozy twice. I got acquainted with the future shack which is fine, just 2 or 3 things to check for interference with equipment in the room but hey, that should do it. I should sleep in the same building, I just have to go outside and walk 10m to go to my room, which should do it there too. On the antenna side, if we can do it as I think, that will be very good.

It’s very crowded here because there are a lot of people on the base, but INFRA will take care of me on Thursday. A base is on a small mound which puts the foot of the mast 2 or 3m from the roof of the building where I am and there is everything to guy and pull the Levy.

The shack is in the basement facing the mast so 10 to 15 m of coax at most to pull, the clearance is great at 360° and the dish should pass without worry above the roof of the building located at 330° towards OQ-100. All the staff is very friendly and the amateur radio attracts a lot of questions. But already I can say that everyone knows who I am and is ready to help me. So, no traffic will start before the weekend.

I also had contact with the IPEV, it should be fine and the measurement fields are opposite the base. The famous Absolute Measure lasts about 20 minutes so it’s about 4.5 hours total, but I think there is a way to see it in detail. Anyway, I have to see the manager (who was with me on the boat) and the 2 technicians who will take the measurements to define an action plan.

[DECEMBER 20 @ 0755z] – The Marion Dufresne has arrived Crozet island. Thierry is already on the island. Setting up will take some days. [source]

Note: For any Crozet related questions, please use only this email address: crozet2022@orange.fr

[DECEMBER 18] – Marion Dufresne ETA Crozet island on December 19th (local) afternoon. Landing on the 20th. Currently navigating in fog, but everything is OK otherwise. [source]

[DECEMBER 15] – Video below – courtesy the Crozet 2022/23 blog – shows Thierry’s view of Tromelin recently. Since this video was taken the Marion Dufresne has returned to Reunion, and is now on its way to Crozet. Click the tracker image to bring up the position map. 

Click to view track

[DECEMBER 12 @ 12:10Z] – In actual fact, further to the info below, Thierry left port on Reunion island sooner than planned. Here’s his view from aboard the vessel. Bon Voyage, Thierry !

You can track the Marion Dufresne here. Destination: Tromelin, arriving tomorrow (December 13th @ 10am local).

[DECEMBER 12 @ 10:40Z] – In about 3 hours time, Thierry F6CUK (on the right) leaves for Crozet via Tromelin. Here he is with FR8UA prior to boarding a well known ship (see update above).

[DECEMBER 10] – Today the journey to Crozet begins for Thierry ! Here he is at Bordeaux airport earlier this morning (local) getting ready to board his flight to Paris, then onto Reunion. The adventure has finally started !

Crozet callsign released soon…

NOVEMBER 20 by F6CUK 

Here is the latest information to date, following the signing of the agreement with the TAAF

  • 12 December: loading of freight, boarding of passengers (early afternoon) on the Marion Dufresne and departure for Tromelin at the end of the day.
  • December 16: return to near Reunion, helicopter transport of agents returning from Tromelin and departure for Crozet. I will not descend on Tromelin.
  • December 20: Expected arrival in Crozet. Start of the emission window.
  • January 26: End of the emission window. I am authorized to broadcast HF for 3 weeks only between December 20 and January 26. In addition, every day at least 5 hours will be neutralized (no emission) to allow the Poles Institute (IPEV) to make a measurement.
  • No constraint for QO-100 traffic, possibility of traffic during the whole stay on the base.
  • Departure from Crozet around March 25th.
  • Passage to Kerguelen then Amsterdam for supplying the bases. I will not be allowed to get off the boat so no emissions.
  • Return to France in May.

As you can read above, these are unfortunately significant modifications in particular for the HF part and far from the initial authorization given.

Callsign and frequencies

Only the information given on the Crozet2022 site, by F6EXV, F8TRT and of course Les Nouvelles DX is reliable. The others (FT1W, etc.) are fanciful. Don’t waste your time or your money. Given the very short duration of my broadcasts, I intend to favor traffic on 2 or 3 bands maximum for ATNOs. Depending on the best band for the W6 I will choose 14 or 18 MHz and 10 MHz at night. I did not choose frequencies either, it will be seen with the scientists on site, except for the 10 Mhz FT8 where with the Bouvet team, we agreed that I would use 10.131 Mhz but I noted the subs bands of US (novice) stations on 14 MHz. The whole team is working to have the largest possible transmission window, which would allow more traffic and perhaps more bandwidth. I am in contact with the IPEV, but to date I have no information going in the direction of an extension.

I am sorry for all those, and I know there are many, who are looking for Crozet. For me too it is a great frustration to stay 3 months on site for only 3 weeks of HF traffic.

[CROZET 2022/23 BLOG]