Press Release #1 (26 Oct. 2014) - Request Funding Intentions (7 Dec. 2014) - Press Release #2 (31 Dec. 2014) - Press Release #3 (8 Feb. 2015) - Pre-Press Release #4 (9 May 2015) - Final Press Release (9 May 2015)

Bouvet Island 2016 Project Presentation
26 October 2014

The most remote island on Earth

2,500 km south-southwest of South Africa
1,700km north of Antarctica

Objectives:

A 3 month DXpedition carried out by 1 person
Target: 100,000 QSOs


(click on the above pictures to locate Bouvet Island as seen from the 3 most populated Amateur Radio regions)

Bouvet Island current Temperature and Weather forecast

Executive Summary
(click on the headline with your point of interest to move fast forward, or start below this summary to view the complete page)


Why a one man DXpedition to Bouvet Island ?

There is no better way to celebrate my 50th birthday and my 25 years in ham radio than by going on an ultimate adventure,
and at the same time making a lot of people happy hitting the airwaves from a rare location like Bouvet Island.
Here is a link with more information about the "one man".


Operational plan - when, what and how ?

The time period for this operation will be from mid-January till mid-April 2016, targeting a goal of 100,000 QSOs on CW, SSB
and RTTY on all HF bands. Access to the island is already granted by the Norwegian authorities for the mentioned period.
I invite you to dive into the details related to the "how" in this particular section further down.


Bouvet Island will rank #2 on the DXCC Most Wanted List in 2015.
You and I probably need it on a lot of bands and modes. How can we help each other ?
Have a look at a different approach to DXpedition funding

The ham radio world has been waiting for a proper DXpedition to Bouvet Island for many years. I have the planning skills, experience and determination to make this happen to everyone's satisfaction. But I need financial support well in advance in order to secure the required transport
to and from the island. Hence, I need a partner with the same passion and determination as me, willing to use financial muscles up-front
as project funding. My partner will of course receive revenue from a successful DXpedition to cover the up-front funding.


250,000 EUR for a Bouvet Island DXpedition, now that is a bargain !
The financial projections are well established


A one-man DXpedition can keep costs to a minimum, and exercise cost control throughout the project with ease.
However, the transport with safe landing at Bouvet Island does come with a price tag not aligned with most people's wallet.
Other costs are possible to cover at a later stage, and/or will likely be subject to vendor or service provider donations.


Ham Radio on Bouvet Island, a scarce occurrence

Now, see for yourselves how rare ham operations from Bouvet Island are, the very same island which is called "The most remote island on Earth".


The ultimate location on the island is already found, and access is granted by the authorities

You will see that the project is well thought through, and that access to the island is already granted by the authorities.
Moreover, the most favorable location for a ham radio operation has been determined and agreed with the same authorities.
Further detailed planning will make sure there are no surprises once I land on the island.

 

If you are not in a hurry, explore the complete webpage starting here. Exciting? You bet!


Pictures and background information

 

During the 1927 Norvegia expedition, Norway officialy laid claim on Bouvet Island

 


A hut was built on Cape Circoncision



Picture taken from the International Space Station on 12 September 2008

 

 

The following pictures were taken in 2006 by Dolph Kessler, a Dutch professional photographer

 

Picture taken approx. from the north side

 

 



The Nyrøysa nature reserve on the northwest side of the island
with the Norwegian Research Station (container) visible at the center

 

 



Research station still visible. It vanished into the sea probably after an earthquake in 2006
The Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) built a new station in January 2014


More Bouvet pictures by Dolph Kessler can be seen at:
http://www.panoramio.com/user/5061631/tags/Bouvet

 

 

Scientists working at Bouvet, sleep in tents

 

 



Penguins breeding on Nyrøysa
Small icebergs are still around in early summer season

 

Every respectable island has its own mystery. So does Bouvet. Here is some interesting reading:
http://allkindsofhistory.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/an-abandoned-lifeboat-at-worlds-end/

 

 

Ham Radio on Bouvet Island

Currently Bouvet ranks #3 on the DXCC Most Wanted List
In 2015 it will move to #2 after Navassa has been activated

 



The late doctor/astronaut Chuck Brady N4BQW put up a Mike Traffie HX-5B
HEX-BEAM at the research station during a December 2000 - March 2001 expedition
Chuck made 16,828 QSO's interwoven between his other duties and responsibilities

 

 



All radio amateur operations have taken place from Nyrøysa
The view towards Asia is completely blocked

 




The 3Y5X operation by Club Bouvet in December 1989 - January 1990
logged nearly 50,000 QSO's

 

More information on all Bouvet ham radio operations can be found at:
https://web.archive.org/web/20130120220550/http://dxccsleuth.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/bouvet-island-the-lonliest-place-on-earth/

 

 

What is the best radio location for a 1 man expedition on Bouvet?


All radio operations so far have taken place from the nature reserve Nyrøysa, located at the northwestern side of the island. This location is completely blocked by a steep slope towards the northeast-east-southeast. It is also breeding ground for seals and penguins, a no go.

Cape Circoncision at the northwestern tip of the island is snow-free during summertime, giving coverage to most continents. Due to penguin colonies, access cannot be granted.

The eastern slope (Slakhallet) can be a good alternative to cover most of the dense ham radio populations. This is a slope, not sure how the ice surface behaves during summer time and it is not advisable for one person to stay on the slope. For a large group of operators, this is probably the best choice.

To cover all continents without obstructed view, the best option would be the summit plateau near Olaftoppen at near 780m altitude. However, the summit is mostly covered in clouds, this is not an option for helicopter flights.
In 2012, the summit was reached by an international group, climbing their way to the top to place a time capsule filled with visions for the future by people from all over the world. In this Youtube video, Bouvet and the reaching of the summit can be seen starting around minute 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSN-ah2jH2s&list=PL2A9F0B610581FDEA&index=1

For 1 person, the best snow-free radio location during summertime is Cape Valdivia, the most northern tip of the island. A recent survey showed there are no penguin colonies nor seals on the cape. Seabirds reside on the lower cliffs and won't be bothered by human presence. Remember, the whole of Bouvet is a nature reserve and thorough evaluation is made by the authorities before granting access.
The view towards the ham world is fantastic: unobstructed all around except for KH6-VK-ZL. Surely there must be a bent or long path to accomodate these regions.

 



Cape Valdivia at north side of the island

 

 



This picture by Dolph Kessler is taken approx. from the north-northeast side of the island
The eastern flank/slope is probably useful for radio operations by a larger group

 

 



A close-up from Cape Valdivia

 

 

A close-up from Cape Circoncision

 

 



Cape Circoncision as seen from Google Earth

 

 

Cape Valdiva as seen from Google Earth

 

 

How to get to Bouvet? How to land on Bouvet?
How to survive on Bouvet for 3 months?


 

This is the Cdt. Fourcault. I visited the ship in April 2013 and had a lengthy meeting
with the captain. The ship has a helicopter, necessary for landing on Bouvet

 

 



The Cdt. Fourcault successfully landed a team of ON-hams on another challenging island,
Rockall Island in 2011. For Bouvet, the chopper is a must

 

 



Technical details on the Cdt. Fourcault (http://www.fourcault.be)

The Cdt. Fourcault will be committed to a dedicated Search and Rescue Operation for this DXpedition, should the need arise
Here some more details on the personalia and capabilities of the Cdt. Fourcault group: http://www.seatec.be

 



Shelter. At first I had a look at containers, but these are too heavy for lifting by helicopter
This shelter is made by http://icewall.com.au/igloo-satellite-cabin and it can be lifted by a helicopter

Light weight, good insulation, tested under the severest possible weather conditions
These 'Igloos' have extensively been used on Antarctica, Heard Island,...

 


The Igloo Satellite Cabin has perfect features for Bouvet

 

 



Electrical toilet. No human waste can stay on Bouvet, and a 3 month stay requires a drastic approach.
This toilet burns human waste to ashes. I can hear the jokes coming guys...
(yes, I will take a non-electrical backup loo)
(no, I won't take a dishwasher nor washing machine)

 

 



Electrical heating

 

 



Vertical Axis Wind Turbine to generate energy for the backup batteries
(in case the generators fail - of course a more rigid model than this one)

 

 

 

Heavy duty batteries for backup power and (RF clean) Inverters

 

 

Antennas


With the Location, Propagation, Climatic conditions and KISS principle in mind, the Antenna Arsenal will be flexible but effective
Good signals are a priority, and Antenna issues are currently being discussed with a team of experts

 

 

Aluminum telescopic masts, if well guyed, will survive the Bouvet winds
They can serve a multitude of functions

 

For 80 and 160m separate inverted-L antennas will be used

 

 

 



K9AY custom made array for low bands reception

 

 



Tools, basically everything to keep the station and shelter running

 

 



Radio's
I will use radio's I am familiar with

 

 


Amplifiers
Bouvet is probably a long way from your ham shack
This is the first deal I made, almost 2 and a half years ago

 

 



Laptops

 

 


Satellite phones

 



RFI-clean generators

 

 



Shelter for generator

 

 

 

Rugged tarps against oil and gasoline spilling

 

 



24 gasoline drums (200 liter drums)

 

 



Practical food supplies for 100 days and fresh fruit
(I am aware I cannot live on MRE's for 3 months)

 



Water for 100 days and extra water for a quick bucket wash

 

 

Medical emergency kit
Safety is high on my priority list

An in depth emergency medical training course is at the absolute top of this list
A satellite phone (and backup units, powered by batteries and wind turbines) will be used
for emergency communications with medical staff back home, should the need arise
Should worse come to worse, and as already stated above, the vessel Cdt. Fourcault
will be dedicated to Search and Rescue Operation during this DXpedition

 

 



Appropriate sub-polar clothing... lesson learned when I was standing on TV-hill at
an altitude of 2000m above sea level, overlooking Kabul-Afghanistan (winter 2000)

 

 

This looks much better

 

 



Film material

 

 

Financial projection


What will the Bouvet DXpedition cost?


The budget is put at 250,000 euro (285,000 USD). Almost 3/4 of this amount goes to the vessel and helicopter flights.

I can cut the ship costs only because it will drop me off, and pick me up after 3 months. It does not stay anchored near Bouvet. A Bouvet operation by a large group would probably surmount 450k euro.

I am confident to get the radio's, antennas, masts and possibly some of the other items of the above list sponsored. The radio's, antennas and masts are not included in the budget.
The amplifiers are already secured, as are the satphones and K9AY array.
Most materials will be taken in tri-fold (double backups) (no, not the electrical loo).

Bouvet is a beautiful and an ugly place at the same time. Wind speeds of over 120 knots have been measured. That means everything needs to be fastened, double fastened and triple fastened. Breakdowns and damage will occur. To be well prepared, means heavily investing in safety and materials. This is included in the budget.

 

Why a one man DXpedition to the most remote place on Earth?


If anyone can think of a better way for me to celebrate my 50th birthday, 25 years in ham radio and making 100,000 QSOs with a little adventure on the side, you have my attention.
(many showed me the way, but VP6BR showed me some more...)

Follows a quote by Martti Laine OH2BH which I find pertinent to the Bouvet project:

The legendary Muhammad Ali once said: "Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing."


Operational plan


Target QSO total: 100,000
CW-SSB: all HF bands (except 60m)
RTTY: 2 or 3 bands
6m band: probably not
EME: probably not
SSTV: probably not
PSK: not
Satellite: not
Hellschreiber: not

Time schedule: 24/24-7/7 (with adequate rest periods)

Log: daily uploads to Clublog, LoTW, e-QSL

QSL: bureau, direct (OQRS)

Time frame of operation: half January through half April 2016

The unique one-man effort over a 3 month time period will show how this different approach will make more people happy,
compared to a multi-operator team operating during a short time period

Why?

It is in the scope of this project:

1. to work as many UNIQUE stations as possible
Thanks to the 3 month time period, I will be able to work 1 or 2 specific bands exactly for this purpose. The very last interested QRPp and mobile station willing to work Bouvet and willing to put the necessary time and effort from his/her side into it, will be able to get in the log;

2. to work those stations that need Bouvet on certain bandslots/modes to achieve 9 band clean sweeps;

3. to provide SSB, CW and RTTY contacts for those needing certain modes.

For all audiences, I will have plenty of time. It will be the primary reason for me being at Bouvet, making radio contacts, as many as possible.

For this approach to be successful, it needs one or two things:
- Club Log is a great asset to Amateur Radio. However, the 'Leaderboard' function will not be used;
- I will ask to those who already have Bouvet confirmed on certain bands/modes: only work Bouvet where you need it.

I am confident I can count on the fair play from the deserving DXers to just work Bouvet where they need it. Resulting in being able to work the pileups down to the very last QRPp and mobile station and at the same time making the 9 band hams reach their objective.

 

 

Request for exclusive funding


Every cent of this DXpedition will pass through the non-profit organization 'Peter I - Antarctica Expedition 1994' (renamed 'Antennes zonder Grenzen - Antennes sans Frontières' in 1995).
This organization was formed in 1993 by Peter ON6TT. Goal was to make every dollar spent for the 3Y0PI DXpedition accounted for and visible to the entire expedition team. Good accounts make good friends.

 

Why seek sponsorship from one exclusive source?


Primarily for practical reasons. A zillion things have to be done in advance, and getting the finances right before such an endeavor takes place is a significant hurdle out of the way.
At first I looked at the possibility to obtain sponsoring from outside the ham community, in the corporate world.

The corporate world: Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Red Bull...
I threw out a fish at Red Bull... the answer was what I expected, and showed it would be extremely slow-going with the huge corporations... having to pass a chain of offices not aware of what ham radio is about, it would take years before funding could ultimately be obtained.

A well known DXer suggested: contact Virgin (Richard Branson, he certainly is in for a bit of adventure). Another hurdle with the corporate world is publicity. What do I have to offer them? Not much at first sight, and a camera crew on my tail and on the island is not part of the concept. It will need some thinking outside the box for the corporate world to go along with this project.

So, abandon the Bouvet idea? There is not one day that passes without Bouvet being on my mind. I want to do this.

 

How can exclusive funding work? Will there be revenues to the exclusive sponsor?


If exclusive sponsorship is secured, the Bouvet logistical process can commence. At that time, additional sponsorship will be sought from within the DXing ham community. Funds obtained this way, should entirely return to the primary (exclusive) sponsor.

If the DXpedition is successful, I expect the exclusive sponsor to get a large revenue to his input, however maybe not the total amount.

It is up to the exclusive sponsor to decide whether he is visible to the ham community, or not. Why? If the expedition turns for worse (accident or death), it is perhaps the wish of the sponsor to remain unknown to the ham community and to not be connected to an unfortunate endeavor (that is also why I don't seek funding from the ham community yet, this is a risky endeavor and I can appreciate the major DX foundations will not be thrilled to pay upfront).

If the expedition is successful, perhaps the sponsor wants to reveal his identity as to being the exclusive funder having made the DXpedition possible. Or not.

It is a long shot, but this is what I have in mind and to offer. Let's see what happens.

Anyone feeling this adventure appealing and considering to be an exclusive sponsor, please contact me. I will provide the fully detailed budget for your perusal (confidentiality of your name and/or company of course guaranteed).

I also at this time invite the major and other DX organizations/foundations and individual DXers to let me know their intent. Would you eventually go along in this endeavor, and for which amount?
This will give me an idea on how much the revenue to the single sponsor could be.
(my spreadsheet is ready and waiting for your input...no, you don't have to pay now)
(in case a single sponsor does not come forward, perhaps the spreadsheet will reveal other options to go ahead)

I can hear some of you think out loud: he will never be able to raise funding this way. You may be right, you may be wrong.
With thousands of hams reading this request, and applying the theory of 'Six degrees of separation' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_separation), perhaps one of you might just get me in contact with the right person.
Remember, 'impossible is nothing'. And impossible is certainly not an option.

Deadline for Bouvet 2016 to happen: funding needs to be secured by the end of December 2014

If I don't manage to raise funding by the end of this year, don't be sad, Bouvet will eventually be activated by another party. And I will be happily joining you in the pileups sitting at home working them.

I did mention I have obtained permission from the Norwegian Polar Institute to stay on Bouvet and play radio for 3 months, didn't I ? Cape Valdivia it is !

73 - Mark - ON4WW

Update 26 February 2015:
- the deadline has been moved several times (because a large chunk of the funding is available). Cannot predict when a final yes or no will come forward, this is not an easy decision to make
- a callsign has been attributed by the Norwegian Communications Agency

Use the following e-mail address to get in contact with me in regard to Bouvet:
bouvet2016 @ telenet.be (without the spaces)

Here is a page showing who I am and where I have been. I care about people and how they present themselves on the bands. Hence I wrote Operating Practice and Ethics and Operating Procedures for the Radio Amateur (with ON4UN). I was also involved with the DX Code of Conduct project.

* if the e-mail load gets too high, I will not be able to respond to each and everyone of you. Thanks for your understanding
* some pictures are by Dolph Kessler, some are mine. The rest are taken from the internet. If someone holds copyright on one or more of these pictures and has an objection of their use by me, kindly contact me
* Wikipedia will tell you Bouvet is 2,200 km south-southwest of the coast of South Africa...according to Google Earth it is more like 2,500 km... I will fill you in on the correct distance when I get back

* last but not least, I want to express my sincere thanks to the people at NPI for their invaluable expertise, without which this endeavor would not be possible. Here is the motivation I put forward to them when applying for the landing permission:

 

8. Motivation
I cannot think of a better way to celebrate my 50th birthday and 25 years as a Radio Amateur than by pursuing the Bouvetøya endeavour.

For one person to stay alone for some months with a strong focus on getting a job done in a climatologically hostile environment, will indeed be an interesting challenge and endeavour.

I have been working for long periods in real hostile environments, hostile both in human aspect and climatological aspect. Bouvetøya in these regards can be placed on a moderate scale, or less.

I don't underestimate the prevailing climatological conditions, it is however relatively easier to protect oneself against severe weather and cold than against heat and dehydration.

I also appreciate the psychological challenges ahead, having to deal with solitude and having to tackle technical problems without support from a team member.

These however, are challenges I have dealt with before, many times, professionally in the past.