If you are anything like the average HAM, you have occasionally found yourself hunkered down in your station, phones wrapped around your head, finger poised over the PTT switch with your ears straining against the static crashes as you await the distant call to battle: “QRZ?”. You and countless other operators simultaneously mash the PTT and launch your call sign into the ether, hoping that by some miracle the station with the exotic call sign will grab you from the pileup. The odds are that your first attempt will bear no fruit. Nor will the second. Or the third, fourth or fifth. Each attempt finds you pressing a little harder on the PTT, cupping your hands over the phones and leaning yet closer to the receiver to enhance your hearing. (Yes, you do that. We all do.) At last the gods of propagation smile on you and the contact is logged. You perform a Happy Dance around the shack in celebration of an All Time New One and move on to the next challenge. It’s fun, exciting and a lot of work to gain bragging rights for logging a contact with that DXpedition to a flyspeck island in the middle of the ocean. But what about the folks on the other end of the pileup? They didn’t arrive there by magic. It was a lot more work for them to log your call than for you to log theirs!
Swains Island is just such a flyspeck. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean 186 miles north of American Samoa, Swains Island has a total area of 1.4 square miles. A large lagoon in the center of the island leaves only 0.94 square miles of land area. The island, privately owned and administered by the United States as part of American Samoa, has not had any permanent residents since 2008. A Dxpedition led by Kan Mizoguchi, JA1BK, in 2005 was not accepted for credit by the ARRL. However, Swains was soon designated as a separate entity due to the distance from American Samoa. The first recognized Dxpedition to the new DXCC entity was realized in 2006 when Kan, JA1BK, led the KH8SI crew to Swains. A respectable 16,390 contacts were logged, causing an outbreak of Happy Dances in HAM shacks around the globe when operators logged a new one FROM a new one!
The Bosque Amateur Radio Club presentation for January, brought to us by John Clausing, KS6EZ, tells the story of the KH8SI Dxpedition and gives us a glimpse of the work required on their end to place that call in your log! Please plan to join us at 10:00 AM on Saturday, January 7 for this most interesting presentation.
Bob Gilbert N5YYF