Archive - April 2014

Final Press Release Mellish Reef 2014

WP 20140417 004

For Immediate Release:
Final Press Release Mellish Reef 2014
April 17, 2014

VK9MT Mellish Reef was activated on 30 March at 04:34z with ZL4PW first in the log and went QRT on 4 April at 1353z with JL1MTY closing the log.

Our decision to leave the island didn’t come easily; safety was always the first priority. Just as the last QSO was made it became clear we could not remain on the island another day. It was 01:00 (local) when the rain began. The wind was blowing at about 35 – 40 knots; we had water infiltrating the operating tents and the antennas were taking a severe beating. Over the 6 days we were on the island the weather grew progressively worse each day.
After a short meeting the on-island operators decided to QRT and begin packing the equipment in pelican cases for protection. We spent the next several hours packing equipment using head and hand torches.

When the Zodiac arrived for the 6AM shift change we began taking down the antennas and tents. Once the storm was officially declared Cyclone Ita there was no question we made the correct decision.
Our 10 day goal was 80,000 QSOs and as much RTTY as possible. In 5 days we made 40,000 Qs which put us on track for the original target.

ClubLog QSO summary:
– Europe 36.1%
– Asia 29.8%
– North America 29.1%
– Oceania 3.4%
– South America 1.2%
– Africa 0.4%

– CW 61%
– SSB 30.5%
– RTTY 8.6%
All Time New One:
– All modes 26.1%

Unique Calls:  32.1%

The team of eleven operators and five boat crew worked well together. The measure of success isn’t how well one follows the plan but instead how we react to the unplanned. The weather required significant plan changes. Until we arrived at the reef the skipper was unable to determine if nighttime travel to and from the reef was possible. As it turned out, because of the many coral heads, the reef could only be travelled during daylight hours when the underwater coral was visible.

We watched Mellish Reef weather for weeks before leaving but Cyclone Ita required us to improvise, adapt and overcome. We knew things would get worse as reports of death and destruction came in from the Solomon Islands.
While disappointed, we are happy to have given ATNOs, band fills and to have put people on the Honor Roll and Top of the Honor Roll.
We appreciate the support from the corporate sponsors, foundations, clubs and the individual donors. When the books are closed we’ll provide an accounting to the clubs and foundations.
The team received many e-mails from the global DX community; we thank you for your concern, kind words and understanding.

Logs, QSLs and LoTW:

Our QSL manager Tim M0URX reports he’s made great progress with busted and missing calls. ClubLog is up to date with the most current logs, and is updated as problems are resolved.
LoTW will be uploaded at the time this Press Release is distributed.
It is estimated that the actual QSL cards will be in the mail by the end of July.
Those donating $50USD or more do not have to request their QSL; Tim will handle this for you.

Upcoming Hamfest Season:
Several members of the VK9MT on-island team will be attending the Dayton Hamvention and the Friedrichshafen Ham Radio – International Exhibition for Radio Amateurs, as well as local ham club meetings and conventions.

For additional information please e-mail:
73, Team Mellish 2014

QSL Policy

Just to make it 100% clear! The QSL Policy below is the same for ALL call signs managed by M0URX. 
It does NOT matter if you make 1 or 25 QSOs with VK9MT the cost is the same as below.


Please direct your QSL requests Via M0URX with the following route options:


Direct QSL by OQRS: (payment via PayPal) is GB£2 ( )
(We pay 30p PayPal charge on every transaction)

Bureau QSL by OQRS: ( )
If you require a QSL via the bureau please use OQRS to provide your QSO details and request a QSL to be sent via the bureau. There is no charge and this will be the fastest way to receive a bureau card. Please remember we do not require YOUR QSL card Via the Bureau. QSL Via M0URX”  Via Bureau only for those who do not have access to the Internet.


Please also include a Self Addressed Envelope 114mm x 162mm .
NO Euro coins please !!!NO postage stamps accepted.
Due to many SASE being under paid, will be sent Via Bureau

Any person donating US$50 or more to VK9MT, will have the QSL automatically sent for all QSOs, free of charge. These donors do not need to request QSL cards or take any action to redeem the QSL. M0URX will post these cards to all $50 donors as soon as the cards are ready.


LoTW upload will be done at the earliest opportunity

VK9MT Update

April 5th

Due to the ever worsening weather associated with an impending tropical storm, the team decided in the interest of safety to end the operation early.

The last night on the island was extremely difficult. With continued heavy rain and wind, radio operations were nearly impossible. We have set sail for the Australian coast and seek a course to keep ahead of the storm that caused us to leave the reef. Expect 2.5 – 3 days of sailing prior to reaching our port destination.

While the team is disappointed, we realize that you are even more disappointed.

We gave one elderly ZS amateur his last one for Top of the Honor Roll, a PP1 his Honor Roll position and many all time new ones. Based on the logs there were many band fills.

We would like to acknowledge the generosity of the clubs, foundations, individual donors and our corporate sponsors. And a special thanks to Steve Kafka and the Evohe crew for their endless runs to the island, help with every logistical task during the trip, and the strong backs of his young crew doing the heavy lifting.

73, Team Mellish Reef 2014



April 4th 2130 local
1. The winds continue to be very strong. 

2. We experienced antenna damage and are reassessing the antenna situation, we have alternatives. 

3. We are running 4 stations tonight due to antenna damage. 

4. The generators and radios are doing well. 

5. The KPA-500 Power Amplifiers are doing well. 

6. The operating tents are holding up well, but the break tent is damaged. 

7. We are on a different operating plan, with frequent breaks because of  the weather. You will hear us QRX for up to an hour, then return. 

8. We are receiving requests for specific geographic / band operation. Under the circumstances these will be almost impossible to fulfill. 

9. The skipper will assess the weather situation throughout the night and decide if it’s safe to remain at Mellish Reef. 

10. At the moment we’re on the island and operating.

 Team Mellish 2014

 April 4

The wind continues to blow very hard. 

We will remain on the island for at least 18 more hours. 

The skipper is watching the weather maps throughout today and into the night. 

He’ll reassess the situation tomorrow morning and make a decision. 

The tents are holding up well, but with the wind noise and flapping of the tent walls is quite noisy we’re having some difficulty with the noise. 

The antennas continue to play well, however they are somewhat bent over by the high winds and need continual maintenance. 

The team is holding up very well, other than one cut finger, no other

We’re working on the logs and will send an update shortly after this
bulletin goes out. 

We’re making about 7,000 Qs a day, propagation drops out several times a day. The productive bands are the usual HF frequencies. 

The Pilot reports are coming in on a regular basis and we review at each shift change. 

Team Mellish 2014


April 3, 1535 (local) Update 2

The weather continues to change. Last night there were torrential downpours and high winds. 

The antennas survived with no damage, the break tent took on some water through an open window. The operating tents maintained their integrity and no equipment was damaged. Today it has been hot and humid, with high winds. 

We removed non essential equipment and several antennas, including the 160 antenna, from the island. Tonight we will try to keep at least 3 stations on the air. Tomorrow morning we will remove all remaining equipment from the island and head towards Australia. 

We do not yet have a destination identified, it will depend on the winds and sea conditions. Eventually, we will return to Mackay. 

Even if the storm subsides it is unlikely we will have enough time to return to the island. 

Team Mellish Reef 2014


For immediate release: Update 1

The skipper is monitoring a tropical depression several days north of Mellish Reef. This severe weather has the potential to disrupt operations. We have at least 24 hours before any decision is made on how to proceed, we have plans to deal with the situation.

At 0700, April 3rd (local) we plan the following:

1. All unnecessary equipment will be removed from the island, leaving just the operating tents, radio equipment, generators and antennas.

2. Depending on the intensity of the weather we may be forced to terminate the operation early. Another alternative is to temporarily leave the island and return when safe.

3. Any decision to modify or terminate the operation is at least 24 hours away. The safety of the DX-pedition team and the crew is the first priority.

4. To better use the time on the island we ask that band fills be suspended and only people that need Mellish Reef for and All Time New One call us.

5. For at least the next 24 hours we will focus our attention to those bands that drive highest rates to maximize ATNOs.

As news develops we will send out additional information. The only source for VK9MT Mellish Reef information will be these bulletins

Team Mellish 2014

MS0OXE Isle Of Tiree EU-008 – QSL cards posted.


MS0OXE direct QSL cards have been posted for the activity last week from Isle of Tiree EU-008. The team reports making 10,200 QSO’s on this trip and also did well in the CQ-WPX contest with 3,711 QSO’s with a total of 11.1 million points.

The team have arrived home in the Black Country and are looking forward to meet up again soon for a curry night.

VK9MT Update 02/042014

1. We know of the recent earthquake in Chile. The boat has an on-board tsunami alert system that tracks our position against the event. The skipper informs us that we are not in any danger whatsoever. However, he did say if we see him running, we would best be right behind him.

2. We’ve had some e-mail server problems but they now seem to be resolved, we are sending and receiving e-mail. The logs were sent to our
QSL manager. If you get duplicate e-mails please delete as necessary. I don’t have the time to fix the distribution lists.

3. The team is now well into a daily operating routine, which, weather permitting, we will follow for the rest of the expedition.

4. The equipment continues to work well. We are aware there was a CW keying issue with one of the stations, this should now be resolved.

5. The 160 antenna is installed and should get a workout tonight.

6. The pile-ups continue to be energetic and fun. We’re getting good cooperation from the DX community, although at times things can get chaotic when the pile-up attempts to control the operator. We know our call sign, please don’t repeat it to us.

7. We want you in the log, so please follow the op’s instructions.

Team Mellish 2014