May 2015 - Nov. 2015


In this composite picture, members of the Explorers Club are rescuing a stand-in victim of an accident. Expedition Leader Bob Schmieder is at right with the team helping to lift and carry the stand-in victim.

Nov. 1, 2015. As part of the preparation for the stay on Heard Island, many members of the team are getting training in wilderness first response, rescue, and first aid.

Last month Adam Brown took a First Aid /AED-CPR course in connection with his US Merchant Marine officer's recertification.  The course takes about 4 hours. The civilian equivalent of thsi course is available through the Red Cross. Ken Karr recently completed a two and a half day course in wilderness first aid. Gavin Marshall is a current member of  Vertical Access and Wilderness rescue teams in New South Wales. He holds a Remote Area First Aid qualification. Standard Requirement, renewed 12 months ago.  He looks toward a refresher within the next 6 months. Fred Belton took a NOLS Wilderness First Aid course. Next weekend Vadym Iliev will attend a two day course of emergency medicine organised by Kiev Fire Department. Other team members will be taking similar training over the four months between now and the expedition.

Our training is partially motivated by the plans for certain members of the team to explore the rugged territory on the slopes of the volcano Big Ben. In so doing, they will be entering areas that are currently undocumented, but which are known from satellite images to have undergone major changes in the past decade. For example, near Spit Bay, the largest glacier on the island has retreated a mile in the past 40 years, leaving a new and unexplored lake, as well as newly created underground rivers. What they will encounter in 2016 is largely unknown, and may present predictable hazards.

In preparing for this expedition we have built into the plans the following:

  • Wilderness training and first aid of the team participants
  • Extensive previous Antarctic experience of the ship's crew
  • Previous Antarctic expeditions by some of the team members
  • The team doctor (specialty: Emergency Room)
  • Availability of medical consultation online through the satellite connection.

These arrangements should provide resources to eliminate and/or handle almost any medical emergency during the stay on Heard Island.


Expedition Leader Bob Schmieder KK6EK (left) meets with Chip Margelli K7JA, to discuss outreach for the Heard Island Project. This rare photo shows Chip without his trademark moustache, the result of a stint impersonating Star Trek's Mr. Spock.

Oct. 28, 2015. We are very pleased to announce that famed amateur radio public relations executive and communications personality Chip Margelli has joined the Heard Island Project team as Outreach Coordinator.

Chip is legendary in the ham radio community, serving roles in sales, promotion, public information, and marketing for several major companies including Yaesu, Heil Sound, CQ Communications, and RF Acquisitions International. He is a veteran of classic DXpeditions, including the breakthrough 1991 Albania operation ZA1A. He has more than two dozen national and world wins in radiosporting competitions, and is listed in the Amateur Radio Hall of Fame. As a guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, he wowed the world with his prowess in using Morse Code.

Chip volunteered to join the Heard Island Project when it became clear that there is much more to the project than operating radio and collecting unknown species on a remote island. "The project is not only exemplary of the core basis and purpose of the amateur radio service, as stated in Part 97.1 of the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, but it also has the potential to signfiicantly extend advanced real-time interactive communications with remote locations for scientific, resource management, educational, and ecological purposes," says Chip. "The project goes well beyond the actual amateur radio operation--it is consistent with 97.1(e), which states: Continuation and extension of the amateur's unique ability to enhance international goodwill. As such, the Heard Island Project has a unique story to tell, and we will be reaching out to many different audiences, including DXers, school groups, climate-change stakeholders, environmental scientists, smart electronics hobbyists and developers, policy-makers, resource managers, and the general public."

We are, of course, honored and privileged to have Chip as our spokesman, and invite you to offer him opportunities to extend his particular magic to your event or venue. And you might watch for him on network television!


Equipment for the expedition is arriving at the accumulation sites. Above is part of the shipment from DX Engineering to radio team leader Dave K3EL, including amongst other items, 4-square systems for receive and transmit.

Oct. 25, 2015. 'Tis the season of gathering and packing. We are taking delivery on the various equipment and other items that resulted from the extended planning period (the past 3 years!). Equipment from Array Solutions includes 2 ea. OM2000+ amplifiers, full sets of bandpass filters, a SAL-20 receive antenna, an AA-30 antenna analyzer, and other items.Other supplies include the main shelters from HDT Global, headsets from Arlan Communications, WiFi and local network system, satellite terminals, digital storage media, water heater, toilet facilities, bunk beds, environmental sensors, cleanup and medial/emergency supplies, and a myriad other items. The materials will be collected in early December at the QTH of team member Ken NG2H for packing into the sea container, which will sail from Virginia, in mid-December, bound for Cape Town, South Africa. The container will be put into storage in Caper Town awaiting the arrival of the team in early March.


Rich Holoch KY6R and Mike Coffey KJ4Z complete the setup of the VKØEK messaging system. In a demonstration, a message was sent from the "island" (a table in the development room, above left) to the support team in California (a smart phone held by Daniel Brock WB4RFQ, above right). During the expedition, the island team will be able to send messages to the support team, and the support team will be able to accept emails for VKØEK and forward appropriate messages to the island team.

Oct. 24, 2015. The VKØEK IT team, led by Rich KY6R, has taken the innovative step to completely eliminate pilots for the radio operation on Heard Island. This function has been replaced by a satellite-linked lightweight messaging system that will enable reliable two-way "instantaneous" messaging between the island and the support team. In conjunction with the service to process emails received through the DXA web page, the system completely eliminates the need for the traditional "pilots" that have been part of the DXpedition scene for several decades. DXers and collaborating scientists will have the ability to exchange messages essentially instantaneously, enabling troubleshooting, news, and interactive scienfic research.


Oct. 23, 2015. We want to remind you that all donations to the Heard Island Expedition VKØEK are tax-deductible under section 501(c)(3) of the U. S. IRS code. Our authorization [Cordell Expeditions] contains the following statement:

Donors can deduct contributions they make to you [Cordell Expeditions] under IRC Section 170. You're also qualified to receive tax-deductible bequests, devises, transfers, or gifts under Section 2055, 2106, or 2522. ... Cordell Expeditions is further classified as a public charity under IRC Section 170(b)(1)(A)(vi).

Cordell Expeditions has Federal Employer Identification Number 47-2958353. The account for the Heard Island Expedition is kept at Bank of America. We prefer checks rather than PayPal, but please don't hesitate to do either! For details about making wire transfers, please contact the Expedition Leader Dr. Robert Schmieder, or the Heard Island Financial Advisor Dr. Anders Jepsen.


Oct. 19, 2015. Several members of the VKØEK team are continuing the process of preparing the computers, networks, and radio systems for the VKØEK expedition. Bill Mitchell (above) is one of several team members who combine their devotion to amateur radio with a professional career in science. He is a PhD chemist, with a broad range of interests. His dissertation was focused on high-precision uranium-lead dating. Above, he is at VKØEK HQ in Walnut Creek, CA, working with Jack K6JEB to ensure that the software on all computers is standardized, and that the automatic updating of various applications is disabled in order to prevent unnecessary downloading over the satellite to Heard Island during the expedition.


Oct. 18, 2015. We are pleased to announce that we have established a process for interactive scientific research during the stay at Heard Island. Recently we have confirmed the availability of effectively unlimited satellite capacity and airtime during the stay on the island, which will enable us to upload large amounts of data and images from the island and distribute them to collaborating scientists worldwide. Individuals receiving these data and images will have the opportunity to repond with requests or suggestions for further studies.

We expect that the intractive scientific work will comprise two general areas:

(1) Geosciences
(2) Microsciences.

Geosciences includes geomorphology (large structures such as rocky cliffs and deposits, lagoon and coastline boundaries), geodynamics (flowing water such as streams, sediment trnsport, and slumping), glaciology (glaciers, deglaciated areas, etc.) and other earth-related subjects. We have found clear evidence for major recent geomorphological changes and geodynamical processes, making it urgent to make ground observations. The interactive capability provided by the satellite link will enable earth scientists to help guide the investigations and obtain the most useful images from the island.

Microsciences includes microbiology (e.g., living microscopic plants and animals, relictual biota, spores), cryptobiology (living organisms that are in a metabolism-suspended state), sedimentology (e.g., inorganic particulates, particularly deposits supporting meoifauna), and micro-debris (e.g., fragments of dead organisms, particulates in suspension in lagoons and marine water, etc.).

The image at left is typical of images we will be able to obtain using our digital microscope on Heard Island. Images such as these will be uploaded for analysis by specialists, who will have the opportunity to give feedback to the expedition team in time to make further observations and collect additional spciemens.

Pictured above are Craig and Maria Hauger, together with Expediton Leader Bob Schmieder. The Haugers will provide the principal node for scientific data and images uploaded form the island, distributing them to collaborators and providing response and input back to the expedition team on the island. With their experience and microscope, the Haugers are also looking forward to analyzing some of the preserved specimens when they can be brought from Heard Island.


Oct. 17, 2015. We are very happy to report that donations from more than a dozen persons totalling $1082 to support the Heard Island expedition was received at Pacificon this year. Matching by the Angel turns this into $2164. We want to sincerely thank each of the persons who contributed. These persons are listed on the /SPONSORS/ page. And of course we want to thank the Angel for helping to encourage these donations!


Oct. 16, 2015. Members of the VKØEK team made three presentations a the 2015 Pacificon conference in San Ramon, California. Above, Rich KY6R, talks about the model simulations and decisions on antennas. Talks were also presented by Bill AEØEE, who described working VKØEK from a limited QTH such as an apartment, and Bob KK6EK, who showed images of the planned facilities and environment on Heard Island.


Oct. 13, 2015. The administrator of the Angel Matching Fund, Dr. Anders Jepsen, reports that the Angel has agreed to repeat the offer made at several previous radio conventions: Any donations to VKØEK made at the Pacificon 2015 Convention in San Ramon, CA, Oct. 16-18, 2015, will be elegible for dollar-for-dollar matching.

The Heard Island Angel Matching Fund

To be eligible for matching by the Angel Fund, the donation must be received at the convention.You can make your donation in cash or check, or if you are caught short, make it by PayPal or bank transfer (see instructions here) but you need to be at the convention to qualify.

You can deliver your donation to any team member (Bob KK6EK, Rich KY6R, Bill AEØEE are making presentations Friday and Saturday), or any person wearing a tag saying "Ask me about Heard Island VKØEK." If you absolutely cannot attend Pacificon, you could send your donation with a friend. If you absolutely can't get to Pacificon, call or email the Expedition Leader Bob KK6EK--he'll help you make your donation! But don't wait--the matching offer closes when Pacificon closes.


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(Left to right) Dave Scott (KN4ZQ), James Kirkham (K4JK), Manny Rodriguez (K4MSR), Glenn Schumaker (W4XR), and Lee Moyer (K4ISW)

Sep. 16, 2015. We are proud to present our East Coast Support Team, centered in Fluvanna County, Virginia.

Manny K4MSR is our ARES EC for the county. There are about 20 in the local ARES group, but the ones pictured above are ardent DXers and those assisting us directly with the VKØEK DXpedition. The group meets on the ARES Net every Monday evening at 8 pm (local), and for breakfast every Wednesday morning at 7:30 AM. They also participate as a team in an annual field day.

These gentlemen have become a very important part of our Heard Island Team. Glenn W4XR has volunteered his truck and trailer for transporting the tents and associated equipment from HDT Global in Buena Vista, VA, to the accumulation point at the home of team member Ken Karr NG2H. Several others will also drive down with Glenn and all are assisting to haul and organize the equipment that will go into the shipping contain that will arrive late December. While their preparatory work will be complete when the container is shipped from Norfolk, VA to Cape Town, South Africa, currently scheduled for late December.


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Working up the VKØEK inventory. (top) Jim N6TQ and Peter W6DEI stack shipping containers in preparation for matching containers and contents. (middle) Eduardo K6EGF and Dave K3EL sort and stack some of the coax. (bottom) Rich KY6R and Peter W6DEI begin the sorting of the various tent anchors. Rich is trying them out as ski poles!

Sep. 13, 2015. On Sunday, the California VKØEK Support Team and four expedition team members continued the process of acquiring and preparing the equipment for the Heard Island expedition.

A fraction of the equipment that we will take to Heard Island is already at the warehouse in Richmond, CA. This includes the wagon, various shipping containers, coax, tent anchors, water containers, gasoline cans, masts, dormatory supplies, and tools. We spent the day sorting the items into those we will certainly take, those we might take, and those we certainly won't take.

One excellent step was to define a "station in a box." With the availability of compact radios, amplifiers, computers, and other gear, we are able to pack a complete station in a single clamshell container (seen at top above). The container is waterproof and airtight. We will have 8 of these complete station kits at Heard Island.

The warehouse team included Rich KY6R, Peter W6DEI, and Eduardo K6EGF, as well as participants Jim N6TQ, Dave K3EL (radio team leader), and Bob KK6EK (expedition leader).


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The local (California) team assembled the computer network, including the Inmarsat satellite terminals, and installed various software such as drivers for the Elecraft K3S radios. The work was directed by co-Organizer Rich KY6R, seen standing the far back.

A schematic of the Atlas Cove, Heard Island local network. All the hardware was acquired, set up, and tested during this work sessoin. The high-power WiFi will have a range sufficient to connect stations that might be separated by a half-mile, giving the team flexibility in locating the stations and antennas for best performance.

Testing the N1MM logging software networks among the computers through the local HI WiFi, and its upload through the satellite to implement DXA. (front left to right) Matthison KJ6DZB, Dave K3EL, Carlos NP4IW, Jack K6JEB, and Peter W6DEI. (back left to right) Adam N2ARB, Jacob Brown, Daniel WB4RFQ, and Mike KJ4Z.
Sep. 12, 2015. On Saturday, the Diablo DX-ers (VKØEK California Support Team) and four VKØEK expedition team members assembled the hardware to implement the dataflow system required for the Heard Island expedition. The topology of the dataflow is described in the HI Newsletter #5. It is a complex system on the island involving 8 laptop computers, 8 Elecraft K3S radios, 3 WiFi networks in 2 locations, and 4 BGAN satellite terminals.

During an intense work day, the team installed drivers for the new K3S radios, configured MMTTY, FLDigi, and QSO Order to all work with our N1MM+ logger. Rich KY6R, then led a demonstration with Pete W6OP on DXA emulating both Atlas and Spit, and a very successful day was then complete.

The team made various important decisions about design and implementation of the system. For instance, there will be only one IP address, and only one computer will be a gateway to the satellite. It is safe to say that the VKØEK dataflow system will be among the most complex of any deployed on a major DXpedition. Of course, the highest priority is to make securely logged contacts with DXers, but it is also a major goal to provide this information in real time, to enhance the chances of DXers to get that QSO. The real-time operation does complicate the system, but it is our conviction that it is part of the future of DXpeditions.

The support team was led by Rich KY6R, and included Mike KJ4Z, Peter W6DEI, Daniel WB4RFQ, Jack K6JEB, Elliot N6PF and Matthison, KJ6DZB. The onsite team included participants Adam K2AQRB, Carlos NP4IW, Dave K3EL (radio team leader), and Bob KK6EK (expedition leader). By remote connection, Peter W6OP participated inthe tests, although he was traveling in Sicily at the time!


On Tuesday, September 8th at 98 PM EDT, Bob, KK6EK gives us an update on planning and preparations for the Heard Island DXpedition. This is part of regular status reports from the VKØEK Heard Island Team. You can watch the broadcast live on You can also liste in on 5085 kHz WTWW at

During the DXpedition we will be bringing you live reports from Heard Island. The most important will be DXA, which gives you realtime log updates. But the team is also implementing the capability to upload images, audio, and possibly live video direct from Heard Island, as well as receiving messages and information from the DXing community. The expedition has two primary goals: (1) To log a QSO with as many DXers as possible, espeically those needing VKØ/H for an all-time-new-one; and (2) To conduct a wide-ranging scientific investigation of this important subAntarctic island to document the effects of global climate change.
You can watch this interview live on Alternatively, you can listen in on Shortwave WTWW on 5085 KHz. A previous interview with co-Organizer Rich KY6R can be seen here.

The VKØEK team would like to thank our sponsor, Tom Medlin W5KUB, for this opportunity to inform the DXing community about the project, and to thank our many supporters who are making it possible, listed here. Donation information is listed here.


Sept. 5, 2015. We are very pleased to announce that Fred Belton KM4MXD, a member of the VKØEK Heard Island DXpedition team, will be attending the W4DXCC DX and Contest Convention in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Sept. 25-26, 2015.

The administrator of the Heard Island Expedition Angel Matching Fund, Dr. Anders Jepsen, reports that the Angel has agreed to repeat the offer made at Visalia, Dayton, and Friedrichshafen: Any donations made at the W4DXCC Convention, will be elegible for dollar-for-dollar matching to benefit VKØEK.

To be eligible for matching, the donation must be received at the convention.You can make your donation in cash or check, or if you are caught short, make it by PayPal or bank transfer and give the receipt to Fred, but you must be at the W4DXCC convention to qualify for matching.


A clear day showing Big Ben and the ruins of the ANARE station

Showing flooding of the Nullarbor and Big Ben in the distance

A cloudy day with no visibility of the mountain

A day of fog and snow

Aug. 31, 2015. Our radio team leader Dave Lloyd K3EL recently called our attention to an extraordinary set of time-lapse images taken in 2010-2011 at Atlas Cove, Heard Island. The camera is part of the Australian Antarctic Division’s remote-monitoring project to monitor the state of the Heard Island reserve, in the Southern Ocean, about 4000 kilometres south-west of mainland Australia.

Above we present four of the more than 1100 images taken over a four-month period.These images are very valuable to the current VKØEK project, because they indicate the change in the weather, and the fraction of time the visiblity is good.

The solar-powered digital camera was set up at Atlas Cove station in December 2010 to take 10 photos a day. The camera was positioned to face south-east looking towards the isthmus and Big Ben.The images were recovered from the camera’s memory card. The images show king penguins gathering on the isthmus and investigating the remnants of the Atlas Cove station, while elephant seals wallow near the old buildings. In many of the photos rain and cloud obscure the view, but there are also a number of blue-sky days and a dusting of snow in the later pictures as winter approaches.

The time-lapse sequence can bee seen online at


Aug. 27, 2015. We are very pleased to announce that we have completed the team roster with the acceptance of Dr. Arliss Thompson W7XU to the Heard Island Expedition. Arliss will serve as the expedition doctor, including planning, risk reduction, and medical response onsite.

Arliss' accomplishments are spectacular: His formal education includes a B.S. in Mathematics, B.S. in Wildlife Scinece, and an M.D., with specialty in emergency room medicine. As the expedition doctor, he will enable the team to be properly prepared, help reduce risks in the plan, and respond to medical needs of the team members.

In the 1970's he was an alpine ski racer. He spent three summers on survey crews and one summer as a sheepherder in the Gravelly Range in Montana. He did work-study with the Oregon State University Dept. of Oceanography hat included cruises in the eastern Pacific assisting with conductivity-temperature-density studies.

He spent two months aboard Japanese trawlers in the Bering Sea while serving as a foreign fishery observer for the National Marine Fisheries Service. His duties included sampling the catch for monitoring purposes, carrying out marine mammal watches and collecting specimens of fish that had not previously been documented in the Bering Sea . He also worked for the US Forest Service doing stream surveys for the EPA.

In 1981-82 he was employed by ITT Antarctic Services as the communications coordinator (chief radio operator and repair technician) at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station (90 degrees south), including overwintering. His duties involved long range communications with aircraft and handling day-to-day radioteletype and voice communications with other Antarctic bases. He was the chief operator of KC4AAA.

Arliss subsequently completed a residency in Internal Medicine, but was hired by an emergency medicine group, so he has only practiced emergency medicine.

In ham radio he enjoys operating CW, SSB and RTTY. He has been on DXpeditions to: FY, 8R, CE0Y, 9G, CY9, J3, VP2V, FJ, TZ, C5 and VP8 (Falklands). He is a member of the VP8 DXpedition scheduled for January 2016. He has also operated from KC4, KL7, KH6, VY1 and a number of Canadian provinces. He enjoys contests and pile-ups, regardless of the mode. He participated in the WØSD multi-op ARRL RTTY Roundup effort, with a number of top 3 placings. He has also held some meteor scatter distance records on 222 and 432 and have also worked all lower 48 states on 2m without EME.

Arliss bicycled from Oregon to Washington, DC, then up into Newfoundland and back to Vermont in 1980. He cycled in New Zealand, Australia and SE Asia enroute home following his year in Antarctica. He continues to be an active cyclist. He hiked about 350 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in May of this year. He has a commercial pilot license with IFR rating. He was a police reserve officer for 10 years with a “Distinguished expert” pistol rating, but retired 3 years ago.


Aug. 15, 2015. We are very pleased to announce the addition of Jim Colletto, N6TQ, to the Heard Island Expedition team. Jim brings energy and resourcefullness to a variety of critical aspects of the project.

After high school, Jim spent a stint in the U.S. Coast Guard and then graduated with an Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering from Florida Tech. Jim also holds an MBA in International Business from Georgetown University. 

Jim was first licensed in 1976 (7th grade) as WB6ZHZ and then acquired the call N6TQ in 2011. Jim enjoys DXing, Lowbands and 160m contesting.  Jim recently made DXCC Honor Roll and believes the Heard Island trip strongly aligns with his passion for adventure, having spent six weeks trekking in the Himalaya (1998), two weeks trekking in the jungles of Laos (1999), four weeks tracking the white-desert rhinos of Namibia (2000), summitting Kilimanjaro (2002) and, most recently, operating from the remote Tuli Preserve in eastern Bostwana (A25TQ - Sept 2014).  

Jim is currently between jobs, giving him the once in a lifetime opportunity to participate in the Heard Island expedition, after spending his first career as a pipeline engineer and his second at Cisco Systems, Inc., most recently helping transform the company's product support organization.


Aug. 15, 2015. We are very pleased to announce the addition of Fred Belton KM4MXD, to the Heard Island Expedition team. Fred will primarily work with other team member sfor the exploratory science and research on the island, altoguh he may also do some radio operating as well.

Fred is a retired university mathematics instructor and former electrical engineer. He holds a B.S. Electrical Engineering, University of Tennessee, 1979 and M.S. Mathematics, University of Memphis, 1995.

Fred has traveled in more than 100 countries and territories and done extensive trekking in many of them. He has made two 3 year “world exploration” trips. He is particularly interested in volcanoes, has climbed around 50 active volcanoes worldwide, and has spent much time exploring volcanic terrain. In 1997 he became focused on Ol Doinyo Lengai in Tanzania, the only volcano that erupts natrocarbonatite lava. In 1999 he assisted a German film team with a television documentary there. From 2000 until the commencement of explosive activity in 2007 Fred organized and led Ol Doinyo Lengai expeditions for scientists, photographers and film teams. Expedition members spent a week at the crater while it was erupting and were able to observe the activity at night, an experience shared by very few people. In conjunction with the expeditions, Fred collected lava samples and worked with a geology graduate student on data collection and research to investigate the possibility of tidal influences on magmatic activity. Fred was originally licensed as WB4YRM, but currently holds WM4MXD.

Here is some of Fred's trekking experience over the past 25 years:

  • Iceland: Hornstrandir Peninsula 23 day exploration/unsupported trek- Aðalvík to Norðurfjörður.
  • Iceland: Interior Highland Plateau (across Ódáðahraun south to north) 14 day unsupported trek climbing shield volcanoes and tuyas including Herðubreið.
  • Iceland: Exploration of Laki fissure area out to Vatnajökull and Skaftá River.
  • Faroe Islands: coastal exploration.
  • Corsica: GR-20.
  • Italian Dolomites: Numerous via ferrata routes.
  • Tasmania: South Coast Track.
  • New Zealand: East Matukituki Traverse.
  • Scotland: 73 “Munros” climbed.
  • Romania: Făgăraș and Piatra Craiului ridge traverses.
  • Venezuela: Mt. Roraima.
  • Texas: Rancherias Loop.
  • Indonesia: Gunung Tambora.

Here is a sampling of Fred's publications:

  • Mitchell, R. H. and Belton, F. (2008). Cuspidine-sodalite natrocarbonatite from Oldoinyo Lengai, Tanzania: a novel hybrid carbonatite formed by assimilation of ijolite. Mineralogical Magazine,72. (6), 1147-1162.
  • Kervyn, M., Ernst, G.G.J., Klaudius, J., Keller, J., Kervyn, F.,Mattsson, H.B.M, Belton, F., Mbede. E., Jacobs, P. 2008. Voluminous lava flows at Oldoinyo Lengai in 2006: Chronology of events and insights into the shallow magmatic system. Bulletin of Volcanology. 70: 1069-1086.
  • Kervyn, M., Ernst, G.G.J., Harris, A., Mbede, E., Belton, F., Jacobs, P. 2008. Thermal remote sensing of the low-intensity carbonatite volcanism of Oldoinyo Lengai, Tanzania. International Journal of Remote Sensing. 29: 6467-6499.
  • McFarlane, D. A., Lundberg, J., and Belton, F.A. (2004). An Unusual Lava Cave from Ol Doinyo Lengai, Tanzania, Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, 66. (3), 98-101.
  • Mitchell, R. H. and Belton, F. (2004). Niocalite-Cuspidine Solid Solution and Manganoan Monticellite from Natrocarbonatite, Oldoinyo Lengai, Tanzania, Mineralogical Magazine, 68. (5), 787 – 799.


Aug. 10, 2015. One goal of the 2016 Heard Island Expedition is to make contact with thousands of radio amateurs worldwide and give them a contact with VKØEK. But team member Bill Mitchell also understands that the other goal is to carry out a significant scientific program that includes exploration, documentation of environmental conditions, and the search for new specioes to extend the known biodiversity and its connection with climate change. Armed with his PhD in chemistry and an unlimited curiosity about the scientific world, Bill has begun to publish a fascinating blog called The Inquisitive Rockhopper. Bill explains it as follows:

Bill is doing more than presenting his activities: he's actually making discoveries about Heard Island. For instance, in a detailed examination of recent satellite images, Bill found clear evidence for a major glacial calving event that dropped many tons of ice and snow into one of the largest lagoons (Compton Lagoon). The observation is indicative of the extreme dynamic nature of Heard Island: it changes constantly, hence continual observation is a crucial requirement for understanding the nature and evolution of this volcanic island and the plants and animals that live there. Check out Bill's discovery of the calving here.


On July 20, 2015, key members of the Heard Island team met with staff at HDT Global to discuss the tent shelters and make final design decisions. HDT supplies a wide variety of shelters and other equipment to military customers worldwide, and has agreed to partner with the Heard Island project as a demonstration and evaluation activity. At their factory in Buena Vista, VA, the company showed us a variety of their AirBeam tents in various configuraitons. These tents offer major advantages for the Heard Island expedition: very rapid erection (15 minutes), high wind load capability, large inside open space, and simple 4-point anchoring. Their intrinsic modularity enabled us to set the optimum design for the main camp at Atlas Cove (see drawing above). Details about the facility will be provided in a forthcoming Newsletter (subscribe).



During June 26-28, the VKØEK team was present at the GDXF booth at the Ham Radio convention in Friedrichshafen, Germany. We are very happy to report that a total of $1152 was donated. Matching by the Angel turns this into $2304. We want to sincerely thank every one of the persons who contributed. All these persons will be listed on the /SPONSORS/ page. And of course we want to thank the Angel for matching these donations!


June 10, 2015. Today we initiate a new service to our friends: The Heard Island Expedition Newsletter. The Newsletter will contain inside information about the people, plans, and procedures for the expedition. Much of the information will not be available on the open websites, but it will be very valuable to help you make a confirmed contact with VKØEK. It will also contain information about the scientific work to be carried out on the expedition. If you're interested in the Heard Island Expedition, you want to have this Newsletter!

You can subscribe to the Newsletter for free (no obligation whatsoever). It is only available to subscribers, and is only distributed by email. Click here to see more information and to subscribe.


June 8, 2015. The administrator of the Angel Matching Fund, Dr. Anders Jepsen, reports that the Angel has agreed to repeat the offer made at Visalia and at Dayton: Any donations made at the HAM RADIO convention in Friedrichshafen June 26-28, 2015, will be elegible for dollar-for-dollar (or Euro-for-Euro!) matching.

To be eligible for matching by the Angel Fund, the donation must be received at the convention.You can make your donation in cash or check, or if you are caught short, make it by PayPal or bank transfer (see instructions here), but you must be at the convention in Friedrichshafen to qualify. If you absolutely cannot attend, you could send your donation with a friend, but it must be physically received at HAM RADIO convention.


June 6, 2015. Today we had the pleasure of a celebratory meeting of the expedition team, its largest institutional supporter, and the vessel skipper. Gathering at the Walnut Creek home of Expedition Leader Bob Schmieder, local team members, officers of the Northern California DX Foundation (NCDXF), and Nigel, owner and operator of the expedition vessel R. V. Braveheart, the group combined a nice dinner party provided by Bob's XYL Kay with several important milestones. Bob showed major progress in the design of the facilities to be used on Heard Island, based on the AirBeam shelters being provided by corporate partner HDT Global. Co-organizer Rich KY6R described progress with the antenna design and radio propagation modeling, and plans for a partial team on Spit Bay to get enhanced propagation to the North America West Coast. Nigel described the detailed plans to meet the team in Cape Town, South Africa, and to provide extensive support while on Heard Island.

But probably the happiest event of the evening was when NCDXF President Tom Berson, together with Past President Rusty Epps W6OAT and Director John MIller K6MM presented the expedition with a check for $50,000. Tom expressed his faith in the group to carry out the complex and difficult expedition, prompting Bob to respond with promises to spare no effort to justify that faith.


June 5, 2015. Nigel Jolly, owner/operator of the R.V. Braveheart, arrived in San Francisco yesterday to meet with the Heard Island team and supporters. His visit confirms the earlier signing of the contract for the expedition, now scheduled to depart Cape Town Mar. 8, 2016. For several hours, Bob and Nigel worked through the details of the operation, including sailing schedules, landing and setup at Heard Island, operations during the 3-week stay at the island, and the conclusion of the voyage in Fremantle, Western Australia. It is clear that there are no impediments to the project--planning will proceed as expected.

On Saturday evening we had a party/meeting (see above), and on Sunday the radio team had its regular bimonthly Skype planning meeting. Nigel was able to participate in the conference, so the non-local team had the opportunity to talk directly with him.


May 27, 2015. We are very pleased to note that so far 32 radio DX organizations have provided more than $82,000 of support to the Heard Island DXpedition VKØEK. This represents an average of more than $2500. The largest donor is the Northern California DX Foundation (NCDXF) which is providing $50,000, followed by the GDXF ($7335) and INDEXA ($4000). We are expecting that many more of the 130 DX organizations known to us will be making significent contributions, and we want to express our gratitude to the organizations represented above, and any that will join them. If you are part of an organization not yet on the honor roll shown above, please consider joining us to help make this greatest of all DXing adventures happen.


May 23, 2015. We are very pleased to announce that we have partnered with HDT Global as a major sponsor. The agreement was struck in a meeting on May 19, 2015, at the company office in Solon, Ohio, in a meeting of expedition leader Bob Schmieder and team member Ken Karr with the HDT Global CEO, Chairman, and President R. Andrew Hove. The company will custom-develop the main shelters to be used on the Heard Island expedition, and provide various associated facilities and equipment. In return, the expedition will provide HDT with product experience and evaluation in the extreme environment of Heard Island, as well as exposure on various media such as the websites, DXA, and printed materials.

HDT Global, Inc. designs and manufactures shelters, generators, heaters, air filtration devices, robotics, and other engineered technologies. It offers military tent shelter systems, command and control systems, expeditionary energy products, environmental control units, Nordic industrial products, military power generators, flight line equipment, specialty vehicles, and accessories, as well as military chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) air filtration systems and protection systems. The company also offers robotic systems for commercial, healthcare, underwater, and military applications. Its products are used to meet the specific needs of command posts, hospitals, military barracks, emergency medical treatment units, CBRN decontamination facilities for first responders, and command and control operation centers. In addition, the company provides engineering design and product development, application engineering and systems integration, logistics support, product training, and after-sales support services. Its products are used by the U.S. and allied military units, homeland security, civilian government, contractors, and commercial customers in the United States, Sweden, Canada, Japan, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Chile, and Australia. The company is based in Solon, Ohio.


During May 16-18, the VKØEK team manned a booth at the Hamvention in Dayton, Ohio. We are extremely happy to report that a total of $4500 was donated; matching by the Angel turns this into $9000. We want to sincerely thank every one of the persons who contributed. All these persons will be listed on the /SPONSORS/ page. And of course we want to thank the Angel for matching these donations!

Voyage rescheduled for March 6-April 20, 2016

Wednesday, 13 May 2015. Today Cordell Expeditions signed a contract with Nigel Jolly, owner and operator of the Braveheart (above), for the expedition to Heard Island, and moved the project schedule to March-April, 2016. The ship will depart from Cape Town, South Africa, proceed directly to Heard Island, and finally to Fremantle, Australia. The stay at Heard Island will be nominally March 16 - April 8, 2016.

The nominal 21-day stay at Heard Island will enable amateur radio operations, using the callsign VKØEK. While the radio operation is the primary goal, the team will also carry out a limited scientific program, including a search for new species that can enhance our understanding of biodiversity and the effects of climate change.

The new contract resulted from the inability of Heritage Expeditions to deliver on its promise of providing a safe and supported operation at Heard Island using the Russian vessel Akad. Shokalskiy. Obviously, the conversion to the new vessel and schedule will require adapting the team and the project activities, but the major goals of the expedition remain unchanged. We are grateful to the Northern California DX Foundation and numerous other organizations, and many, many individuals for their generous support of this project.

We will update the various documents and websites in the near future, and hope that you will continue to follow the progress of the expedition. For further information, please contact the Expedition Leader, Dr. Robert Schmieder,


Click image to enlarge

During the Hamvention in Dayton, Ohio, in May, 2015, we will be hanging out at the booth of Array Solutions, in the EAST HALL, booth EH0606. Please stop by to chat about the upcoming DXpedition to Heard Island. While you're there, you have the opportunity to make a donation that will be doubled by the Angel: your $100 will bring $200 in support to the DXpedition! See details immediately below.


During the International DX Convention in Visalia, California, in April, the Angel Matching Fund received $5050 from direct donations. Doubled by the Matching Find, this raised $10,100 for the DXpedition. The administrator of the Fund, Dr. Anders Jepsen, now reports that the Angel has agreed to repeat the offer: Any donations of $100 or more made at the Hamvention in Dayton, Ohio, during May 15-17, 2015, will be elegible for dollar-for-dollar matching.

To be eligible for matching by the Angel Fund, the donation must be received at the convention.You can make your donation in cash or check, or if you are caught short, make it by PayPal or bank transfer (see instructions here), but you must be at the Hamvention to qualify.


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.

NEWS ARCHIVES 1 (2014 - Apr. 2015)