Two major DXpeditions now are attracting hordes of DX chasers and raising the activity levels on HF. While both the Heard Island VK0EK and Juan de Nova FT4JA DXpeditions coordinated their operating plans in advance to avoid conflicts and confusion, the fact that both DXCC entities are quite rare will keep things hopping on bands where both are active at the same time. Heard Island is number 5, and Juan de Nova is number 4 on ClubLog’s DXCC Most Wanted List.
“Because we will be on the air at the same time as the FT4JA DXpedition — and because we will both be operating from a very similar time zone — it is very important that we coordinate with the French Team, and we have,” says the VK0EK website. The VK0EK and FT4JA websites include the same graphical presentation of their joint operating plan.
As part of that plan to head off potential conflicts, the VK0EK operators are listening down from their transmit frequencies, while the FT4JA operators are listening up from their transmit frequencies (both will always operate split). This should minimize “pileup overlap,” although if both major DXpeditions end up on the same band and mode, operators not interested in working either station could find it harder to locate a clear frequency.
The Juan de Nova DXpedition kicked off on March 30 and will operate until April 11. The VK0EK DXpedition will continue until April 10. Heard Island is in the Indian Ocean about 1000 miles north of Antarctica, and Juan de Nova is in the Indian Ocean in the Mozambique Channel between Mozambique and Madagascar, off the southeastern coast of Africa.
The VK0EK team has offered suggestions to increase a DXer’s chances of getting into the log, but they apply to working any DXpedition. In short, the DXpedition operators will always work split, never simplex. Listen to the operator’s instructions and watch for the operator’s calling “pattern” before you start calling. And, get familiar with the band plan posted on the DXpeditions’ websites.
The Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) can be a useful tool for determining the best times to attempt working a DXpedition, since it provides a glimpse at real-time propagation.
The VK0EK DXpedition has said its number 1 goal is to give everyone an all-time new one (ATNO). The team has asked DXers not to work VK0EK on any band for which they already have Heard Island confirmed, from this or any prior Heard Island DXpedition.