Sep. 2014 - Apr. 2015


During April 17-19, the VKØEK team manned a booth at the International DX Convention in Visalia, California. By special arrangement, the Angel who sponsored the Matching Fund Jan-Mar, 2015, opened it up again only during the conference, this time with a minimum donation of $100 to qualify for matching. We are extremely happy to report that a total of $5050 was donated; matching by the Angel turns this into $10,100...

We want to sincerely thank every one of the 32 persons who contributed, especially one person who contributed $500 and another who contributed $1000. All these persons will be listed on the /SPONSORS/ page. And of course we want to thank the Angel for matching these donations--a real boost to the project!


Our new version of DXA, which provides real-time confirmaiton of radio contacts, is up and running in simulation for VKØEK. Click on the image above to see the simulation live, or click here for a brief description of DXA.

DXA3 was developed form DXA2 by Pete Bourget W6OP. On both of the previous dxpeditions where DXA was used (K7C Kure 2005, and TX5K Clipperton 2013), the DXA page received around 40 million hits, showing its popularity and value as an aid to the DXer wanting to make a confirmed contact with the DXpedition.


During Jan-March, the Angel Matching Fund, established by an exceedingly generous individual (who also is a prominent ham radio operator) raised donations of $22,978 for the Heard Island Expedition VKØEK. The fund was aimed at encouraging individuals and organizations not already part of the fundraising program to make significant contributions to the Project. The minimum donation was $1000. Unfortunately, according to the agreement and conditions of the Fund, it expired on March 31, 2015. The Fund is administered by Dr. Anders Jepsen, who can be reached at

Just now Dr. Jepsen reports that the Angel has agreed to a special offer to DXers: Any donations of $100 or more made at the International DX Convention in Visalia, California, April 17-19, 2015, will be elegible for dollar-for-dollar matching. To be eligible for matching, the donation must be received at the convention.You can make your donation in cash, check, or by PayPal or direct bank transfer (click here for detailed information).


Source: James Brooks

The 2015 Heard Island Expedition is a return voyage for Cordell Expeditions. In 1997, the group carried out the record-breaking and award-winning radio DXpedition VKØIR. One of the team members, James Brooks, produced two video programs, one showing the amateur radio operation and the other documenting the relationship between the 1997 expedition and the 1947 Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition (ANARE), exactly 50 years earlier.

Now another 1997 team member, Peter Casier, has posted both videos on his website. You will see the extraordinary logistics that were necessary to provide shelter for 20 men for 20 days, and the spectacular landscape and wildlife of this extremely remote island. Look for the 30-ft. seas we encountered in the Southern Ocean, the incessant fog and rain, and the indigeneous Heard Island cormorant.

With the experience of the 1997 expedition, the Cordell Expeditions team has a major advantage in planning and executing the 2015 expedition. While many aspects will be different this time, some things never change, like the need to plan, to provide the logistics and ensure documentation, to provide for safety and emergency response, and, probably most important, to bring about personal bonding of the team. The last of these may well be the most important; with the extraordinary success of 1997 as a guide, we are confident that a team working together with proper planning is the right receipe for mission success in 2015.

We urge you to view these two superb documentary videos about the 1997 expedition, and then imagine what we will be able to produce in 2015. Our filmmakers Wolfgang Meschede and Christian Eichenaur will have the responsiblity and opportunity to document this expedition, and we're ocnfident that their wrok will be spectacular.

The 1997 Cordell Expedition is also documented in the book by Expedition Leader Robert Schmieder, which you can download in full here. Other James Brooks DXpedition videos can be found here.


Several members of the 2015 Heard Island team lead dual lives: one as a professional research scientist and another as an accomplished amateur radio DXer and contester. These busy people are equally at home in a scientific conference on state-of-the-art research and at conferences of radio amateurs seeking advancement in the hobby of radio communications. These, and other, members of the expedition exemplify the combined nature of the project, a circumstance forced on the group by the financial realities of Antarctic expeditions but celebrated as an opportunity for significant research on an island that is unique, scientifically interesting, and highly prized by radio amateurs.

Robert Schmieder, PhD, KK6EK

Bill Mitchell PhD, AEØEE

Carlos Nascimento, PhD, NP4IW

Bob is a multi-disciplinary physicist, the inventor of NanoLogic, author of about a hundred technical papers and eight books. He is a celebrated explorer, with expeditions to many very remote islands, including Heard Island 1997. He is listed in the CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame. Bill is both a PhD analytical chemist and an energetic amateur radio contester and DXer. His technical work has been in organo-metallic synthesis, kinetics, polymers, photo-chemistry, atmospheric chemistry and physics, geochemistry, and geology. He is an an active contester and DXer. He publishes an eclectic website: https://inquisitiverockhopper. Carlos is a biochemist, and co-founder of Austral Biologicals, a Chilean biochemical supplier. He has published more than 58 scientific publications and five US patents.Carlos has participated in numerous major expeditions, including Easter Island 1995 and San Felix Island 2002. On Heard Island he will operate the lab for preservation and analysis of specimens.


The Heard Island Expedition will be represented at the 2015 Internatioinal DX Convention in Visalia, California, April 17-19. Organizer and Expedition Leader Robert Schmieder KK6EK and co-Organizer Rich Holoch KY6R be on hand to meet and greet hundreds of DXers attending the premier DXing event of the year.

On Friday, April 17, Rich will give his presentation:

“Using Social Media in DXing and DXpeditioning”

They will man a table in the hallway leading to all conference rooms for the entire weekend. At the table we will be running a non-stop live demonstration of the real-time online log display software DXA3, and Rich will be “live blogging” from the convention. Please stop by and say hello!
Look for the banner with our logo:


It is with considerable pleasure that we announce the award of a $50,000 grant from the Northern California DX Foundation.

For years the NCDXF has enabled major DXpeditions by ensuring that the extraordinary costs, particularly transportation, can be met. NCDXF support probably represents the most accurate indicator of eventual project success, and we are very grateful for the implied endorsement. The grant is contingent on completing the contract with the vessel, but this is considered a relatively straightforward process, probably complete by mid-April. With that, the expedition has obtained its major components (team, transportation, finances), so preparations of facilties, equipment, and logistics will move forward.


We are very proud to report that team member Eleanor Forbes has received a grant in the amount of £750 from the for advanced medic training.The grant honors the memory of Bill Wallace, who was a principal in the John Muir Trust. Bill was adventurous, inspired others, and made a huge personal contribution towards increasing awareness of the need to safeguard wild places both in Scotland and overseas. Bill's legacy is one of selfless devotion to wild places, relentless hard work for and dedication, and a treasure of inspirationally rich memories for all who knew him.

If you wish to support the Bill Wallace Grant, and through it Eleanor's part in the Heard Island expedition, please look at the grant website.


We are pleased to report significant response to the Angel Matching Fund, announced early in 2015. As shown on the sponsors page, the following organizationis and individuals have qualified for matching:

  • Central Texas DX and Contest Club
  • Northern California DX Club
  • German DX Foundation
  • European DX Foundation
  • Danish DX Group
  • Steve Hammer K6SGH
  • Oceania Amateur Radio DX Group
  • Rich Holoch KY6R

As of March 15, 2015, the total raised, including the matching funds, is $22,978. The fund will match donations up to $100,000.

The fund is aimed at encouraging individuals and organizations not already part of the fundraising program to make significant contributions to the Project. Minimum donation is $1000. Deadline is March 31, 2015. For details about this extraordinary gift program, and how you could contribute to it, please click here. The Fund is administered by Dr. Anders Jepsen, who can be reached at

Total to date: $22,978

Goal: $100,000


Mr. Wally Bieleski, Sales Manager for the Masters Home Improvement store, greets Expedition Leader Robert Schmieder in Perth, Australia. After becoming familiar with the expedition, Bieleski promised support, and Schmieder promised advertising in return. The store, which is 1/3 owned by Lowes (a familiar store in the U.S.), has a very complete inventory of tools, materials, parts, and other products that can be used for the expedition. In return, the expedition will display Masters logo and advertising on the real-time website DXA. On each of two previous expeditions, DXA attracted about 40 million hits from the technically savvy audience. Located in Perth, this source of support will be especially valuable due to reduced shipping from the U.S. and the favorable exchange rate of the U.S. dollar against the Australian dollar.

21 Feb. 2015


On Feb. 18, Expedition Leader Bob Schmieder KK6EK met with members of the Northern Corridor Radio Group (Perth, Australia). Members included Keith Bainbridge VK6RK, Wayne Johnson VK6EH, Stuart Bedford VK6LSB, and Andrew Albinson VK6IA.

The Group formally agreed to be the official Perth Local Team for VKØEK. providing a ery significant resource for the expeditioni, and probably significant savings in shipping and other expenses.

The Group built and operates the Neil Penfold State Amateur Radio Centre. Penfold VK6NE was a major supporter for the 1995 attempt of the Heard Island DXpedition (see the book VKØIR, available for download from the website

The Radio Center is a very ambitious facility, comprising numerous operating rooms, workshops, meeting rooms, and storage areas. The Group constructed the center themselves, on grounds that were provided by the government. One look at the awards hanging on the walls is convincing evidence that they do more than talk about radio and build equipment—they are very active in contests, DXing, and other aspects of amateur radio. It is a world-class facility run by a world-class group of hams.

The Group has a variety of resources, including commercial connections for generators. They will be able to obtain certain major equipment that could save us shipping from the U.S. For instance, the Group offered the use of several triangular towers for the radio antennas. The towers are aluminum, 10 ft. sections, and can be stacked 3 or 4 (with low wind loading) high. The sections are extremely light, and can be carried easily by a single person. They are erected by attaching the antenna to the tower and then rotating the assembly vertical on a hinged baseplate.

The website for the NCRG is and for the VK6NE Centre

20 Feb. 2015


On Feb. 16, Expedition Leader Dr. Robert Schmieder met with several of the Australian scientific members of the expedition. The meeting was held at the Australian Reptile Park, founded and operated by team member John Weigle (above, left). Other team members (left to right) are: Dr. Paul Klemes, Schmieder, climber Gavin Marshall, and explorer Dr. Grahame Budd. Topics in the day-long disccusion included financing, risk management, logistics, and insurance.

In Tasmania, Schmieder had meetings with team members Rohan Clarke (ornithologist) and Jodi Fox (geologist), and Eric Woehler (consultant). The discussions included the scientific goals and methods, permits, procedures, shelters, and datasets.

Schmieder, Clarke Woehler, Schmieder, Fox

18 Feb. 2015


On Feb. 5, Expedition Leader Robert Schmieder met with Peter Hillary, son of Sir Edmund Hillary, at his home in Auckland, New Zealand.Peter is a world-class climber in the tradition of his father, having twice summited Everest. Schmieder honored Sir Edmund, a personal friend in the Explorers Club, by designating him Honorary Expedition Leader of the 1997 Heard Island expedition. We are pleased to have the presence of Peter and the Hillary family in the current project.

Peter provides one of several direct connections to the historical aspects of Heard Island. Two members of the current team have direct connections to the historical ANARE expeditions:

Eleanor Forbes The Forbes-Hoseason grave on Heard Island Alan Gilchrist Inga Gilchrist

Health and Welfare Officer Eleanor Forbes is a cousin to Alastair (Jock) Forbes, who was part of the  1952-1953 ANARE group on Heard Island. On May 26, 1952, while walking on the beach in front of the Bausissin Glacier, a wave swept the two men out to sea; Hoseason was drowned, and Forbes died of exposure trying to return to the station. There is a cross that commemorates the deaths in 1952 of two ANARE personnel, Richard Hoseason and Forbes. Ref: Twelve Came Back by Peter Lancaster Brown 1957.

Climber/skier Inga Gilchrist's father Alan R. Gilchrist, was the medical officer with the ANARE (Austalian National Antarctic Research Expedition) party during the 1948 season at Heard Island. A beach area to the west of the Compton Glacier on the NW side of Heard Island, formerly known as Rocky Beach, or Stoney Beach, was named Gilchrist Beach by the ANARE.

In addition, team member Grahame Budd is the legendary explorer of Heard Island (nine expeditions), and the namesake of Budd Peak, Budd Pass, and Budd Ridge.

6 Feb. 2015


We are happy to announce that we have implemented a procedure for additional persons to participate in the voyage to Heard Island. It has always been the policy that there are no guests on the expedition; that is, the limited facilities on the island confine the team to only those with a defined project approved by the Australian Antarctic Division and Cordell Expeditions. Unfortunately, this rules out participation by sponsors and others who might wish to accompany the expedition and have the resources to do so, but do not satisfy the requirements for participation.

Now, as a result of the negotiations between Cordell Expeditions Leader Dr. Schmieder and Rodney Russ of Heritage Expeditions, we are pleased to announce that it will be possible to accommodate a reasonable number of persons on the vessel (Akad. Shokalskiy), to accompany the Cordell Expedition team to Heard Island. This group will be formally managed by Heritage Expeditions. On the ship, they will be able to freely interact with the Cordell team. At Heard Island, they will be guaranteed of being landed on days the weather is acceptable. They will be able to visit the Cordell campsite, observe the operations of researchers, interact (briefly!) with the team, and take photographs. The only limitation is that they will not have accommodations on the island--that is, they will bring their own lunch and will be returned to the ship each night. The central reason is that the facilties on the island will be very limited, and also it will be a requirement of the permit from the AAD.

There will be room for perhaps 15 persons in this category. They will contract directlywith Heritage Expeditions, who will stipulate the cost and requirements for their participation. It is our understanding that each person who signs on in this category (recommended by Cordell Expeditions) will also bring a discount to Cordell Expeditions. Thus, if you are interested in participating in this category, we ask that you communicate with Cordell Expeditions to indicate your interest and level of commitment. We will then make the recommendation to Heritage that they accept you on their roster.

This is an extraordinary opportunity for you to go to Heard Island, and to participate informally in the scientific projects that will be done. You will have the opportunity to interact with the research team ahead of, and during, the trip, so you will have the opportunity to make your own contribution to the program. If you coordinate this with us at Cordell Expeditions, we will include you on the Cordell Expedition Support Team, so you will have nearly all the privileges and practically none of the responsiblities for the expedition. Hard to resist this offer!

If you wish to discuss this further, please call Dr. Schmieder at 925 934 3735, or send an email directly to him (

15 Feb. 2015


Left to right: Bob Schmieder KK6EK, Gary Hinson ZL2IFB, Jacky Calvo ZL3CW, and Lee Jennings ZL2AL

On Feb. 4, Expedition Organizer/Leader Dr. Robert Schmieder embarked on a 2-week multi-stop trip to New Zealand, Tasmania, and Australia to coordinate plans, permits, and logistics for the expedition. His first stop was to see Peter Hillary (son of Sir Edmund Hillary) in Auckland (see above). Bob was hosted for several days by team member Jacky Calvo ZL3CW. They were able to meet with other radio amateurs who will provide support for the expedition, including Gary ZL2IFB, Chris ZL2DX, and Lee ZL2AL, who will serve as a radio pilot for the DXpedition.

In Christchurch Bob met with Rodney Russ of Heritage Expeditions (who is providing the vessel), and in Kingston, Tasmania, he met with staff at the Australian Antarctic Division (who will issue the permits). Bob reports that these meetings went very well, and there is every expectation that the expedition can go forward as planned. In particular, the contract for the vessel is in hand, and Heritage indicated they can help with certain facilities and logistics that will save the expedition some expenses. The AAD indicated that the expedition can expect to receive permission to visit areas of the island normally off-limits to visitors, and to make collections of organisms and return with them for laboratory analysis. These activities are critical to the expedition's goal of "Discovering Life in the Extremes," so this step gives assurance that the major objectives of the expedition can be met.

Also in Christchurch, Bob met with team member Martin Budd, son of legendary Heard Island explorer Grahame Budd, (also a member of the expedition team). Team member Rohan Clarke came from Melbourne for the neeting with the AAD in Kingston, Tasmania, and they also met with Eric Woehler, expert on Heard Island and an important advisor to the expedition. Bob will also be meeting with staff at the University of Tasmania, including Jodi Fox, who will be doing her PhD thesis on the geology of the Laurens Peninsula. In a few days, Bob travels to Sydney to meet with Grahame Budd and with other Australian team members, including John Weigle and Glen Pacey. He will also make an important side trip to Perth to coordinate the local (Fremantle) support team.

It is clear that this trip was an essential step to solidify the formal structure of the expedition and the coordination of the team. "Now," Bob says, in a flight metaphor, "We have an approved flight plan. The next steps are to assemble the cargo, suit up the crew, and prepare for takeoff in November!"

11 Feb. 2015


We have just received notification from Lutz, DK8UH, Secretary & QSL-Manager of the German DX Foundation. who reports that the GDXF will make a donation of €6500, or about US$7335 to the Heard Island Expedition. This very generous level of support will be very valuable in ensuring that VKØEK will be "loud" and "long." We extend to our German radio friends sincerest appreciation for this fine support.

2 Feb. 2015


We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dave Lloyd K3EL as the Radio Team Leader. Dave is a PhD chemist, with experience on major DXpeditions. He brings not only his skills as an operator and team manager, but also his understanding of the project goals and strategy. Dave is leading the radio team to define the requirements and make preparations for the operation, and he will be the manager of the radio operations on Heard Island.

13 Jan. 2015


We are pleased to announce that oceanearth, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit research organization, has become an advisor to the Heard Island Project, and is accepting donations on its behalf.

This provides an option for you to make a donation to oceanearth, which is focussed on environmental and scientific goals, and have the funds forwarded to the Heard Island Project.

Please look at the oceanearth website.

4 Jan. 2015

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) POSTED


1 Jan. 2015


We have obtained the official dates for the voyage to Heard Island:

Nov. 10 - Dec. 22, 2015

If we allow about a week for travel from Fremantle to Heard Island, the landing should be around Nov. 18, with radio operation Nov. 22 - Dec. 8, 2015. . These dates must be regarded as tentative, however, because the sea and weather conditions and other factors might affect the schedule.

30 Dec. 2014


We are extremely pleased to announce that an anonymous donor has established a special limited-time fund (called the Heard Island Expedition Angel Fund), designating up to $50,000 as matching gifts to benefit the Expedition. The fund is aimed at encouraging individuals and organizations not already part of the fundraising program to make significant contributions to the Project.

For details about this extraordinary gift program, and how you could contribute to it, please click here.

21 Dec. 2014


We are very pleased to announce that Mr. Martin Budd, son of the famed Heard Island explorer Grahame Budd (see below) and Dr. Paul Klemes, a General Practitioner (doctor) have joined the team. Both men have extensive wilderness experience, particularly in Antarctic and subAntarctic regions.
Together with Grahame Budd, these three men will make a traverse across Heard Island to document the glaciers, plant and animal life, and make collections of samples that may contain unknown species.
15 December 2014


We are very pleased to announce that Dr. Grahame Budd, legendary explorer of Heard Island, will join the team, together with two companions yet to be named. Dr. Budd is one of the most experienced explorers of Heard Island, having made many research trips there over the past 50 years, including the first ascent of the volcano Big Ben in 1965. His contributions have been recognized by three topographic features on the island – Budd Peak, Budd Pass, and Budd Ridge.
Budd and his companions plan to make a glaciological and biological survey of the whole island, including the remarkable increases in fur seals and king penguins, and further retreat in the island’s glaciers. They plan to carry out an unsupported overland journey from Long Beach to Atlas Cove.
10 November 2014


We are pleased to announce that we have more than the minimum number of team members required for the vessel charter, and also that the team is well-balanced between scientists and radio operators. This enables us to proceed with the preparations for the expedition, including acquisition of facilities and equipment, planning logistics, defining specific scientific and radio operation goals, development of software, fundraising, and other activities.
Approximately half the team will be carrying out exploratory science, searching for rare and unknown species of plants and animals. It is predicted that between 200 and 300 species live on Heard Island that are presently unknown. This comprises a significant part of the total biodiversity of this extremely isolated island, crucial for testing model predictions of the effects of global climate change.
The other half of the team will carry out a major amateur radio operation, using the callsign VKØEK. With the anticipated stay of up to 21 days on the island, we expect to log well over 100,000 contacts worldwide. Some aspects of the activity on the island will be seen in real time on the expedition website
The full team, including the participants who will travel to the island, is listed here. Although participation is by invitation only, we welcome inquiries from anyone. The project is described in detail in the Project Description. Other documents are available on the expedition website. For more information, please contact the Expedition Leader:
10 October 2014


Akademik Shokalskiy
During the past several months, we have made considerable progress and some signficant changes in the plan for the Heard Island Expedition. The most important change is the switch to the vessel Akademik Shokalskiy, operated by Heritage Expeditions. This switch brings numerous advantages, including:
* Departure from Fremantle, Australia, significantly more convenient to the numerous Australia team members.
* The vessel will stay with us for the duration at Heard Island, nominally 21 days. We are discussing the possiblity that the vessel will make visit to Kerguelen following the stay on Heard Island, perhaps enabling additional activities from that location.
* Due to the higher vessel speed (14 kt, 16kt max) and the lower distance (2209 nm) of the Skokalskiy, the total trip duration is reduced to 35 days, rather than 45 days previously planned.
* Calculations by N6BV and KY6R indicate that radio propagation is optimum in November, significantly better than the previously planned for January.
* Carrying out the expedition in 2015 enables us to apply for a major grant from the Explorers Club, available only for 2015.
Akademik Shokalskiy
During this period we have also increased the team roster, which currently has 28 members, more than the minimum of 25 needed for the vessel charter. The roster will be updated on this website in the relatively near future.
The budget for the entire expedition is $800k. Considering expected support, especially from the amateur radio community, we expect to be able to cap the participant expense at $18k. In addition, the team will be working on corporate in-kind donations that can reduce this to $15k.
In summary, we believe we now have all the core elements in place for the expedition, and have moved from the planning phase into the preparation phase. We will welcome your contributions of any kind, and still have spaces for a few more participants.
We sincerely thank the sponsors and donors to this point, and future support in advance.
For information, please contact the Expedition Leader.
15 September 2014


The blog for the amateur radio operations, as well as other information about the VKØEK DXpedition can be found on the site maintained by Rich KY6R. Please feel free to contribute comments on the blog.
Some of the information, e.g., sponsors, is duplicated on both sites. For detailed information about the scientific activities on Heard Island, please look at this website