Focus on 'holy grail'

Ham operators set sail for Campbell Islands

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 15:24 26/11/2012
Ham radio operators
NICOLE GOURLEY/Fairfax NZ
A group of amateur radio operators is setting sail for the remote Campbell Islands to make contact with the rest of the amateur radio operator world.

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Ten amateur radio operators have set sail for one of the holy grails of the transmitting world, the Campbell Islands.

The group consisting of amateur radio operators – also known as ham operators – from New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Canada, Hungary and Borneo left Bluff harbour on board the 25m yacht Evohe today, destined for the remote sub-Antarctic island.

Expedition leader Tommy Horozakis, of Melbourne, said the purpose of the trip was to erect at least five radio stations and for 10 days and transmit signals around the world.

''Thousands of ham radio operators from every continent on earth will attempt to make contact. We expect to make 60,000 contacts,'' Mr Horozakis said from Bluff before the group weighed anchor.

For many ham operators, the ultimate thrill is to receive contact from a list of 340 countries or entities on list established within the ham community.

The highest-level award requires the applicant to contact all entities on the DXCC list. DXing is the hobby of receiving and identifying distant radio or television signals, or making two-way radio contact with distant stations in amateur radio.

Expedition co-leader John Halkiadakis said the list of entities was ranked on the difficulty to make contact with.

''Campbell Island is extremely remote, with the last major ham radio expedition to Campbell Island in January 1999,'' Mr Halkiadakis said.

''So people have to wait a long time for a chance to make contact with some entities.''

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