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
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