In February of this year, we had the opportunity to travel to Bora Bora Island in French Polynesia. This South Pacific destination is absolutely beautiful! When Anita (AB1QB) suggested that we take a portable HF radio with us, we had no idea what sort of experience we were going to have! We put together a portable HF station and antenna system and obtained licenses from the officials in French Polynesia. I also tested our portable HF setup on business trips to Arizona and Florida in advance of our trip.
Our location in Bora Bora was about 400 yards from the beach and 8 ft above saltwater. Needless to say, this made for some exceptionally good antenna performance and our station worked very well there.
We took a TransWorld Antennas Vertical dipole (all bands 20m thru 10m) and a two element Buddipole 10m beam with us to Bora Bora. Both of these antennas are good performers and are very portable (especially the Buddipole system which literally fit in the bottom of our suitcase).
Anita and I had only very limited experience operating a pileup prior to this trip from our participation in the 13 Colonies Special Event as K2K, the New Hampshire, USA digital station. It was quite an experience when we went on the air in Bora Bora for the first time using SSB phone and had at least 50 stations trying to call us at once! Anita (FO/AB1QB) and I (FO/AB1OC) did a little over 1,500 QSOs while on this trip. We earned a Worked All States (WAS) and a Worked All Japan Districts awards based upon our operations there. This trip allowed us to learn a great deal about DXpedition’ing, pileup operations, propagation, portable station design, and QSL’ing for a DXpedition. We are going to be sharing our experience via a presentation at the upcoming Boxboro 2012 Hamfest in Boxboro, MA USA later this month. If you are in the MA/NH USA area, please join us for our presentation at Boxboro 2012 on Saturday, August 25th.
– Fred (FO/AB1OC)