Written by Yuriy Zaruba UA9OBA, RRC President

Expedition K7K & KL7RRC of Russian Robinson Club to Kiska Island in Rat Islands group, NA-070 in Alaska has ended. Recall that the commemorative expedition started on July 23 and passed along the route: Anchorage – Dutch Harbor – Adak – Kiska Island and was dedicated to the 80th anniversary of historical events – the battle for the Aleutian Islands during WWII. The participants returned home on August 3rd. More details – see here

The expedition team – Adrian KO8SCA, Alex KL5CX, Hal W8HC, James KB2FMH, Tim NL8F and Yuri N3QQ reached Kiska Island on a specially chartered F/V “April Lane” from Dutch Harbor and activated the rare group of Rat Islands, NA-070. Four days of work on the air, starting from July 27, 11676 QSOs were made with callsign K7K with 5205 different correspondents from 95 countries of the world. Of these, CW: 3605 (30.9%), SSB: 1853 (15.9%), FT8: 6218 (53.3%). Statistics by continent: NA – 36.1%, SA – 0.7%, EU – 17.2%, AF – 0.2%, AS – 44.3%, OC – 1.5%. At the same time, the largest number of QSO’s was made with JA – 39.7% (4640) and with USA – 32.6% (3807). During the activity, the highest rate reached 9 QSO / min (540 per hour). Also, during the short (2 hours) participation in the IOTA Contest, 175 QSOs were established using the call sign KL7RRC.

Photo by KB2FMH

Of course, not everyone managed to establish contact with the expedition. A large “wall” of calling stations from Japan and the USA did not always make it possible for Europeans to “break through” in the conditions of the remoteness of the island. In addition, heavy QSB made reception very difficult. The location of the QTH on the coast under the mountain closed the directions to the north and west, which also created difficulties. Nevertheless, radio amateurs with good antennas and setup, who showed perseverance on the air, were lucky enough to make the coveted QSOs with a distant island.

position K7K under the mountain

Photo by KB2FMH

Kiska Island (or Kyska) is located about 1500 km west of the coast of Alaska and 1000 km east of the Kamchatka Peninsula – i.e. at a considerable distance from the bulk of radio amateurs in Europe and Russia (the European part). The coordinates of Kiska Island are 51*56’N. and 177 * 26’E, it is located on the other side of the earth, on the opposite side of the Greenwich meridian, near the Date Line – 180 *. Although the island is located at east longitude, it is in the UTC-9 time zone.

KL7 map with JA border of occupation

In addition to working on the air, the expedition completed a historic mission – photo and video shooting (72 GB filmed) was carried out at the historical site where military operations were fought during WWII. During World War II, the island was occupied by the Japanese in the summer of 1942 and liberated in August 1943. Here, as on some other islands in the Pacific Ocean, there was a war. There are traces of those historical events on the island: abandoned guns, remnants of military installations, underground tunnels, half-submerged rusting ships in bays. Kiska Island is part of the WWII National Monument in Alaska.

sunken ship

Photo by KL5CX

As reported by Yuri Sushkin N3QQ, the expedition was completely autonomous. 3 tent camps were deployed on the island: southern, northern and central between them. Round-the-clock power supply was provided by the main 8 kW 220V and additional 2 kW 110V gasoline generators. Fuel consumption was ~ 350l. 5 operator positions were organized, work on the air was always carried out when there was a passage of radio waves on the ranges of 6-40 meters. For information about the radio equipment and antennas used – see the website

The past expedition is already the third attempt of the “Robinsons” to land and activate Kiska Island on the air. In 2020-2021 it was not possible to reach the island due to problems with the ship and other restrictions. This time the excellent elaboration of logistics, a clear schedule of participants’ flights, the delivery of expeditionary cargo and the “right vessel” ensured the success in reaching the island.

During the expedition, the Russian Robinson Club welcomed new members: James KB2FMH (RRC#1125) and Alex KL5CX (RRC#1126)

photo team K7K with flags

Photo by W8HC

Congratulations to the participants on the successful completion of the expedition and the activation of the rare group of islands NA-070! Let’s wait for the QSL and video of the trip to the historic island.

73! Yuriy Zaruba UA9OBA, RRC President.

PS: A short video from Hal W8HC about landing on the island.