The Story: FR/F4HPX Reunion Island

For DxCoffee readers by Thomas F4HPX

That was a holiday style DX expedition – my wife was born on Reunion and we have still a family there as well.

There is around 120-130 OMs on the island (for 800.000 inhabitants) but many are not so active on the air.

For me it was probably 10th time I was going there but the first one with  the radio as my license is still fresh.
I wanted to make some contacts in the area of Indian Ocean (sometimes not easy to contact from Europe) and to try SOTA activity as the island is offering plenty of montains..

Goals mostly achieved – for SOTA I was the first OM activating local summits – actually 2 from 19 defined in the programme  – 2nd and 3rd highest  (FR/RE-002 and FR/RE-003)
The last one is the active volcano (check the pictures) and both over 2500 m ASL high 
SO there is still 17 left for the next stays;-)

 I had two rigs:

Elecraft KX2 plus small ebay-sourced HF amplifier – that I was using for SOTA with acid lead battery 12V 7AH
Yaesu FT-891 that was used during portable/mobile operations close to the car for power supply from the car battery

Antenna – most of the time was the dutch HyEnd  – an endfed 20m long dipole working on 40/20/15/10m bands even without tuner  – together with 10m high fishing pole bought from Italy.

The issue was that my “home” QTH was not well “placed” to deploy antennas and  it did not work for me so I had to give up digital modes and automatic CW
I had to work portable when on the go and only SSB

I tried initially KX2 from the beaches on 20M – I was hearing lot of stations from Europe, India, China and Russia – but nobody was hearing me ! the same on 40m with Indonesia…. I was disapointed 
and afraid that my SOTA operations will be a failure but once got high enough the things changed completely.

On the volcano the only band that was working well was 15M -but there was only Japan at my reach – pretty amazed by 10.000 kms with 30W of power and good reports received.
The same situation on second summit and most of the stations were from Tokyo area.
But working from summits was limited in time (long way up and back to be safe before sunset – and when you are not anymore 20 years old – sometimes a bit exhausting 
 when you have a 17kms walk with 8 or 10kg of radio gear and stuff in your bag to carry)
I contacted local radio amateurs and I got some tips about good “spots”, timing and frequencies therefore could make more contacts on 40 and 20M
with France, Poland, Italy, Spain, South Africa, India, Philippines, Madagascar and Australia but not the other islands on Indian Ocean.
Possibly because not enough time operating radio and too much on the beach with family …. but that is the holiday style “operation”.

Next time will do better!

73 Thomas de F4HPX


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