Please support this difficult and expensive project! Thank you.
The list below includes the donors who submitted support this project prior to the actual operation. The updated list in the Donors section include all stations who offered support through OQRS or mail.
4X4-2238 - Eyran
7K3EOP - Noriko
AH6HY - Dave
DJ3XG - Rudi
DK8UH - Lutz
DL1BDD - Rainer
DL5ME - Mario
DL8FL - Frank
EA3NT - Christian
EA8AKN - Tony
F-59706 - Patrick
F4BKV - Vincent
F5CQ - Rafik
G0APV - Vic
G3ZAY - Martin
G4MFX - Graham
HB9DKZ - Hans
I1SNW - Claudio
I4EAT - Fausto
I6NO - Gianfranco
IK4WMA - Enzo
IK8DDN - Nino
IT9CLU - Salvo
IT9DAA - Corrado
JA1BPA - Icko
JA1EY - Don
JA1QXY - Gou
JA1SKE - Isao
JA6FIO - Sai
JA7DOT - Etsu
JA8MS - Mom
JA9IFF - Jim
JF4VZT - Yuu
JF6XQJ - Moto
JJ0NCC - Masa
JM1PXG - Toshi
JN3SAC - Takashi
JN6RZM - Shu
K3EST - Bob
KJ3L - Jim
K6VVA - Rick
KN7D - Val
K8GI - Rick
K9KDS - Kevin
K9RR - Bill
K0AP - Dragan
LA4DW - Karl
N4II - Ed
N4WW - Austin
N6NO - Merv
N6VR - Ray
NI6T - Garry
N9BX - Bruce
OE6IMD - Mihai
OH2BCK - Ulf
OM3JW - Steve
ON4BAV - Alain
ON4CD - Ghis
ON4IZ - Doc
ON4XL - Lucien
PT7WA - Luke
R0FA - Gennady
RA6AR - Tom
RA9CMO - Igor
RA9YN - Victor
RJ3AA - Sergey
RM0F - Yuri
RZ3FW - Serge
S57L - Yanko
SM3DMP - Tom
SM3CMU - Ingemar
SM3EVR - Tord
SM3NXS - Sten
SM5FWW - Leif
SM6CVX - Hans
SP9FKQ - Jozef
UA1OIZ - Vlad
UA4CC - Ark
UA9YJO - Eugene
UA0ZC - Valery
UT7WZA - Club Station
VE3JV - Wayne
VE7DP - Frank
W3AWU - Al
W5GAI - Skip
W5VFO - Charles
WB2YQH - Bob
WD8PKF - Alan
YF1AR - Budi
March 14, 2015
All direct requests received to date have been mailed.
Updated March 9, 2015
QSL cards have arrived and will be dispatched shortly!
Cards were shipped by Air Mail service but were misplaced, leading to a considerable delay in delivery. We apologize for this unfortunate mishap.
QSL cards were shipped from Sicily on 21 Nov.
QSL design was finalized on 3 Nov.
The list of donors has been updated in the Donors' section.
The following stations requested direct QSL cards without following our instructions available in the "QSL info" section on this website. As a result, they included insufficient funds for return postage, so their QSL cards will be mailed via the bureau, in due course: DK6XR, DL7UCW, IT9JQY, JA1IFP, JA1FXH, JA1JAN, JA2HBK, JA7GFN,JF2TOG, JH8BOE, JH0JQS, LY5TO, R7KC, RK9UN, RZ6LY, SP2Y, UI8U, US5CB,UT5ZZ.
Take a look at the photos added in the Gallery page
Expedition log has now been uploaded at Club Log!
9 September 2014
Here is a quick summary of the operation from Matthew Is. We left Noumea on Sep 1 in the morning, earlier than expected and arrived off the coast of the island two days later. We had to use the engine for the entire journey, because the wind wasn’t favourable. When we left it was not sure that we will be able to reach the island. Some vague information indicate that coloured water, resulting from the activity of undersea volcanos has been spot at times, with the water temperature indicating 40C one km away from the island, if not more.
Upon arrival, under a northeastern wind, the best option was to land on the south end of the isthmus which separates the two volcanos. The boat had no place to anchor, since the ocean bottom was very deep. As such, it would be only Bob and I trying to land. The waves were pretty high, and the pilot had some doubts that we can make it without turning the dinghy. As such, it was decided that we will row, using the oars as canoeing to the island. Rowing to avoid the most dangerous edges, we made it to the shore, only to realize that it was made of large bolders which would continuously slip around under the pressure of the waves, making typical noises in the process. It was difficult to hold the boat while the powerful waves were pouding us, and at the same time pull the heavy drums with equipment and the rest of the stuff out of the water. We fell a couple of times quite badly, but nothing other than some light contusions and superficial scratches. We had to make three transports, at the end of the which waves became increasingly scary and we were completely exhausted.
With rain forcasted for the evening, as well as a wind change expected to come from the southeast, we had to setup camp quickly. Noticing that the two volcanos were very high, somewhat obstructing wavepaths, we went right away to check for the best camp place. There weren’t really a lot of options. Additionally; the pilot indicated that it will be highly likely that we will have to leave from the northern edge of the isthmus, due to the prevailing winds over the coming days. Closer to the north part of the isthmus, we found an old cabin, in poor condition, but succeeded to fix a bit a couple of its fallen windows, leaning the broken door against a tarp we had. It leaked in a couple of places during the rain, but it offered a better insulatin than the tent we had. We trasported everything to the cabin, about 400 m from the landing place, which shouldn’t have been a problem had we not have had those three landings. As such, it took us a while to finish everything.
Finally, we set up all the radio equipment under headlamps, as the rain set in. The first QSOs started to be logged. The rain kept pouring in, very heavy at times, for almost the next two full days. Close thunder made us stop transmitting from time to time, not necessarily because of the fear of being hit by lightning; but because of the intense QRN. The wind would bring at times the smell of sulphur from the volcanos’ fumaroles. In the second day, with recovered forces, we transported the dinghy from the south to the north end of the isthmus, during the period of no propagation. In three days and nights spent on the island we slept very little (I for one only about four hours total). In turn, this took a toll on our performance on the bands, particularly since many JA and EU stations didn’t cooperate with our specific requests.
We logged a total of 2069 QSOs with 1598 stations. About 62% of the contacts were in SSB, and 38% in CW. We had a problem with the key in the beginning, but we fixed it later on and we were able to operate CW very well. Approximatey 50% of the stations logged were from EU, 31% from AS, 16% from NA, 3% from OC, and a few from AF and SA.
Under the southeast wind any departure from the southern end of the isthmus appeared suicidal. Consequently, as mentioned earlier, we departed from the north edge. Lot more narrow, the northern access was the only option under the circumstances. In either case, the boat would be waiting for us about 400 m away or so. Luckily, the pilot was able to achor briefly and gave us a hand on the subsequent transport. About 10 m away from the shore, a hot water current was a clear indicator of the forces of nature at work just beneath us.
Back on the boat a nice meal was waiting for us. We had a shower and then slept for more than 12 hours nonstop. Next day we couldn't stop thinking how we would have had to move everything back south, including the boat, had the wind changed again, just before our departure...
We operated on all bands from 12 to 40 m. Unfortunately, our CQs on 12 m during day 2 remained unanswered for 40 long minutes, except for one JA station, despite the fact that I was able to copy a strong EU pileup to some T8 station. Many EU stations called us desperately on various bands, time and time again, without being able to copy our reports and finish the contacts, despite the fact that they had already had at least one previous contact with us on a different band/mode, thus taking away the time that we could have allocated others. Also, many JA stations kept calling us on any band and mode we were operating on, despite our specific requests for New Calls Only.
In conclusion, we indicated that we will attemp to spend three full days on Matthew Is. operating as TX4A, and we are quite happy to have been able to put up with the very demanding conditions of this project and stick to the plan. We are glad for all those who made our log, but also feel the pain of those who were unable to.
29 August 2014 (30 Aug 9:30 am local time)
Bob and Cezar arrived as scheduled in Noumea on Aug 29, with no luggage missing. Patrice (FK8HA) and Christian picked them up from the airport and took then to Patrice's residence where they went briefly over various components Patrice prepared for their voyage and operation from Matthea Is. After an excellent night sleep, the team is working with Patrice to gather the necessary provisions for the trip.
24 August 2014
Notes and time schedule
(1) This is a completely different and independent project than TX4A (OC-218), for which a separate OQRS service has been established with ClubLog. Direct QSL requests by mail should be sent separately for each operation, or one of the two requests will be replied via the bureau.
(2) Please do not post any requests for frequency and/or mode change on the DX Cluster or forum sites. If you have any suggestions or requests, email them to our pilot Dan (W4DKS).
(3) We kindly request that you limit the number of your QSOs, in order to allow more stations the opportunity to log each of these rare island groups.
(4) Please respect our directional calls and calls for “new stations”, meant for those who didn’t yet log us.
(5) Any questions regarding log data should be sent to Cezar (VE3LYC) after the end of the two projects.
(6) Our team continues to look for your support. Any donation received will go toward off-setting some of the costs incurred by our team members. Thank you!
Aug 27: Bob (KD1CT) and Cezar (VE3LYC) depart from home, flying separately to Sydney and then together to Noumea.
Aug 29: They are expected to arrive in Noumea before 4 pm, where Patrice (FK8HA) will be waiting for them at the airport.
Aug 29 – 31: Final preparations for TX4A.
Sep 1: Sailing to Matthew Is.
Sep 4: Expected arrival, landing on the island, and beginning of the TX4A operation.
Sep 7: End of TX4A operation, departing Matthew.
Sep 9: Return to Noumea.
We look forward to log you all!
QSL cards have not arrived from the printing house.
If the cards do not arrive by the end of February, they will be re-printed.
We are very disappointed and apologize for this terrible mishap.
Team "Matthew" wishes to congratulate two of our sponsors on their Anniversaries:
- Russian Robinson Club (RRC) is celebrating 20 years since its foundation. Check the excellent video presentation at http://youtu.be/PXMAKLPJcio, prepared for the 50th Anniversary IOTA Convention in Windsor, UK (4-6, July, 2014).
- Icom is proudly announcing its 50th year Golden Anniversary. With technology that stays one step ahead, Icom makes the world's communication necessities a reality, and will challenge the needs of the future from its position as a true high technology company. Check the company's milestones on Icom Canada's website at http://www.icomcanada.com/50th.html.
16 June 2014
The Team would like to announce that the boat provider has offered them a free upgrade. As such, the boat which will sail them to Matthew Is. will be a 50-ft monohull (not a catamaran), with a 15 foot beam, as shown in the photo above.
9 June 2014
We have purchased today the plane tickets and made the first down payment for the boat transportation. As Bob put it: "there is no going back now"!
1 June 2014
Cezar (VE3LYC) and Bob (KD1CT) will attempt to operate from Matthew Is. (OC-218) for 4 days between Sep 1 and 9, 2014. They will maintain one station on the air around the clock, operating on all bands from 10 to 40 m, CW and SSB.
Please mark and check this website regularly for updates.
Matthew Is. is located approximately 500 km east of Noumea, the capital city of New Caledonia. The island is a stratovolcano, with steep edges, quasi-circular in shape, and a radius of about 400 m. It actually includes two conical shaped islands linked by a rocky isthmus about 200 m long. This isthmus is submerged at strong tide and high ocean swell. Heavy rain floods its southern part forming a wetland.
The west site of the island is composed of lava and pumice, rising to a height of 177 m above the sea. The respective volcano is active and generates heavy sulphur gas emissions (fumaroles), and has erupted at least five times during the last 65 years. The east site is formed of basalt and has a height of 142 m. It is older and presently inactive. Access from the sea is very difficult, and can only be attempted on calm sea. An automatic meteorological station was installed on the island in 1981.
Main risks on the island are represented by the presence of ticks, carriers of bacteria responsible for the Lyme disease, rats and mice. The smell of sulphur, generated by the fumaroles is normally not an issue, but can become intense in case of unfavourable wind. Additionally, there is a hazard associated with frequent rock falls. The team must address all of the above in planning their stay on the island. The operating team must by completely autonomous in as far as the food and water are concerned. Serious and adapted protective means are required to deal with the common rapidly changing weather conditions (wind and waterproof tents, several cloth changes, raincoasts). In planning, the team must take into consideration the possibility that any rescue mission may be impossible in case of difficult weather conditions.
Two previous radio operations took place from OC-218. Both operations used the callsign FK5M, operated by FK8CR, FK8GM and FK1RF, who were on the island for less than 24 hours on 3-4 December 1996 and 23 April 1997 (logs can be found at lesnouvellesdx.fr/voirlogs.php) The operators were part of missions carried out by the French Military, and were transported to the island by a helicopter carried by the ship. At this time, 17 years after the last activation, this IOTA group is on the Most Wanted list, in demand by 94% of the IOTA members.
The team will meet in Noumea two days before leaving to the island, in order to do some shopping at local stores in preparation for the trip (sealed drums, batteries, food, etc), as well as rent generators and camping gear. They will use the services of a local boating company for the return trip to Matthew. Sailing is supposed to take 2-3 days each way, depending on wind and currents. Landing on Matthew can only be attempted if the ocean swell is low. However, the boat cannot be anchored off the island long term. As such, after dropping the radio team with a dinghy, the skipper will leave and drop anchor at Walpole, a little over 24 hours away from Matthew, or sail to another island, closer to New Caledonia. The team will have a satellite phone for emergency communication.