Yanuca Island (OC-189)
May 1 to 5
27 May 2023
Below is a brief account on how this operation went.
I arrived in Fiji on Friday, Apr 28, and I spent the weekend with Antoine, 3D2AG, in Suva. This offered me a chance to visit his institute and parts of the city, help him to put up on a mast a sea & air monitoring equipment, go together for groceries, but also purchase some electrical components I needed for my operation from Yanuca. I flew to Taveuni Island on the early morning of May 1. Upon arrival, I went to the local administration office in Somosomo, a few kilometers south of the airport. I had already been in touch with the assistant to the Chief there, who helped me to make proper arrangements in Yanuca. He contacted in advance the Chief of Yanuca and obtained his permission for me to visit the island. Henry Bukarau, headman and one the sons of their previous Chief, came over that morning to drive me to their small island by motor canoe.
Yanuca, pronounced in Fijian Yanuda, since “c” always reads as “d” in that language, is located about 25 km from Taveuni and it took us about one and a half hour to get there under a 20-knot wind. Despite wearing a waterproof jacked, I was completely soaked by the time we reach the little village. Meanwhile, each component of my luggage was well protected by double plastic bags. Once arrived, I was taken in care by Willy, Henry’s brother, a bright and entreprenorial individual, as well as an excellent communicator. The island is the only one inhabited of the 10 islands which form the Ringgold group. The village of 22 households and no more than 100 people is located on the east side of the island, close to its southern edge. It offers the best location against the cyclones, which typically hit from the north. Unfortunately, the 110-120 m high hills which offer that protection obstruct the radio propagation short path to Europe and most of Asia, and so it is not a good place to install an antenna for HF communication. Furthermore, the little cabin prepared for me by Willy and his wife Betty didn’t have sufficient flat land around it to allow me to install the multi-band vertical with radials that I prepared for this operation.
In view of the above, while trying to avoid being impolite, I immediately started to negotiate with Willy for another location. I knew from Antoine that the constructions I noticed on Google Earth close to the north shore of the island represented the village school and teachers’ residences. The school grounds offered clear paths to the distant continents of Europe, Asia, and North America. Consequently, I targeted that location by explaining to Willy in great detail why I must get there. However, with the sunset approaching fast, there was nothing to do that night, and so we decided to seek the approvals for a move there next morning. After a good night sleep, I first had to follow in the local tradition and meet Chief Isoa for the sevusevu welcoming ceremony. I was introduced by Willy, and the Chief and I had a very nice chat. Following this, we spoke with the school manager about my intention, who was very receptive, indicating through that it will be up to the teachers there to allow me to set the radio station on their premises. Thus, Willy and I went to the school, located about 1 km away.
At the school, we had a short meeting with the teachers, during which I explained to them the scope of my project and why locating the antenna and the radio station on their school grounds was of such importance. A little later, following their own meeting on this topic, the teachers announced us their agreement to allow me to set up things there. The Head Teacher, Mrs. Teresia Qiri, who lived nearby with her husband Tomasi, allowed me to us one of their rooms to install the radio station, while Betty provided me in the afternoon with a mat to sleep on, as well as a few other things needed for my stay.
We had to wait for the high tide to bring everything from the village, but once the equipment was transported there, I installed it very quickly. It was on May 2 and I operated virtually the entire night. Propagation was great, with lots of EU stations logged on 20 m CW, in addition to AS, NA, OC, and SA stations. Next day I fell sick with a gastro-enteritis. It was pretty painful, with some fever and often toilet runs. I operated from time to time, but I didn’t stay on long, as I had to take frequent bathroom breaks and sometimes to lay down on the mat for a while. I didn’t feel good at all, and this lasted about 30 hours, during which I didn’t eat anything. After a good night sleep though, I felt so much better and ready for action on the air.
Each of the following days I operated most of the nighttime on 15 m, then 17 m, and then back to 15 m, with lots of EU stations logged. Stations from JA and NA were also logged, but mostly outside of the EU times. Since 3D2 is ranked #58 on the Most Wanted DXCC list in EU, I operated long hours in SSB, with excellent propagation to EU and good signals both ways. Many stations indicated that I was either their first 3D2 in SSB or offered them a new band.
I rented a 3.8 kW gas generator from Willy, which gave me some headaches at start. As such, I preferred to use from time to time the school solar power system. However, the latter would not allow me to operate with an amplifier the entire night as the school had some serious consumers, including a large commercial fridge. Consequently, starting the third day, we did some work on the generator following which it run smoothly and – expect for the intentional down times – for the rest of my operation.
While I compensated both my hosts at the school and in the village, I cannot underline my huge appreciation for their incredible hospitality and cooperation. I don’t recall having ever bothered the locals as much as I did in this trip. My hosts occupied an adjacent room in the same teacher residence, but in order to have constant ventilation, there was no ceiling separating the room I was in from theirs. Not only that I kept the light on most of the night, but my operation was largely in SSB! Despite this, my hosts’ demeanor remained the same at all times: genuinely helpful and understanding. Meanwhile, Willy and Betty frequently checked to see how I was doing and if everything was progressing well with my operation, genuinely interested in its success. The weather was pretty calm when I left the island, and so the drive to Taveuni took just one hour, under very little wind.
Nr of QSO Stations
8 2 (HA3ZB: 3 dupes; SP5AA: 2 dupes)
Total stations 3350
Nr of dupes Stations
3 2 (EU 2: HA3ZB, IV3YIB)
2 10 (8 EU, 1 AS, 1 NA)
1 121 (86 EU, 22 AS, 13 NA)
QSO per band and continent
Cont 20m 17m 15m 12m Total %
AF 5 6 4 1 16 0.3
AS 309 333 576 104 1322 25.8
EU 572 1038 1462 1 3073 60.0
NA 241 113 246 28 628 12.3
OC 30 20 24 2 76 1.5
SA 1 - 5 1 7 0.1
1158 1510 2317 137 5122 100.0
QSO per mode
Mode 20m 17m 15m 12m Total %
CW 1079 816 929 5 2829 55.2
SSB 80 694 1387 132 2293 44.8
ALL 1159 1510 2316 137 5122 100.0
Top 20 DXCC by QSO Top 20 DXCC by stations
JA 1177 JA 707
K 552 K 437
DL 465 I 326
I 462 DL 286
UA 308 UA 205
F 244 F 141
SP 187 SP 107
G 129 G 98
EA 126 EA 82
OK 124 UR 71
UR 107 OK 65
UA9 92 UA0 63
OH 88 OH 58
ON 86 SM 51
SM 73 ON 46
HA 65 VE 44
OE 62 HB9 41
VE 61 HA 39
PA 58 PA 36
HB9 51 9A 32
25 May 2023
QSL cards have been designed by PrintIt (Alfio, IT9EJW), and will be printed in the coming days, after which will be shipped to me. I will first reply to the direct requests, using double-folded cards. After this, I will upload all those contacts to LoTW. Later on, I will mail the bureau requests via Club Log through the VE outgoing QSL bureau. The bureau cards received via the VE bureau will be replied to in due course.
13 May 2023 at 19:00 UTC
I would like to thank Roger (G3KMA) and Bob (K3EST), who confirmed that this operation is accepted now toward IOTA credits. The log has been uploaded to Club Log. I will be working in the coming days with Alfio (IT9EJW), who will design and print the QSL cards, which I hope that you will all like.
Allow me to remind all donors that everyone who submitted $10 in support of this activity does not need to submit a QSL request, since a direct QSL will be mailed to them once the cards are available.
9 May 2023 at 14:00 UTC
I am on my way back home, currently waiting in Charlotte (NC) for the last flight, to Syracuse (NY). Any operation from the IOTA OC-189 reference needs to undergo a validation process. While I am generally in charge of the validation process for IOTA operations, the fact that I was involved in the activity carried out as 3D2LYC puts me in a potential conflict of interest. Therefore, someone else on the Management Team will be tasked to look into it. After my return back home, I will forward all the necessary material to the Team, and I will wait for their formal decision before uploading the log to Club Log.
5 May 2023 at 01:00 UTC
Had good propagation to EU last night, and operated on 15 and 17 m, although mostly SSB. Some stations asked me to QSY to CW for a new slot, which I don't think that I will. If the propagation is wide open, like it was the last two night, there is no need to operate CW for EU, when 3D2 ranks #58 on the DXCC list in that continent. Quite a few EU operators who are not IOTA chasers thanked for a new one in SSB, and this motivates me to do as much SSB for EU as possible, conditions permitting.
Tony, 3D2AG, mentioned to me that he has too much electrical noise at his QTH in Suva to operate SSB, which is most certainly why 3D2 is ranked as high in Europe. My short operation is not going to make a serious dent in the demand, but I am just going to contribute the little I can.
4 May 2023 at 03:30 UTC
I hope that I resolved the power issues. I got a nice looking 3.8 kW generator, which I can use if any issues occur. One of a sudden I feel so much better! If only the mosquitos will call it quits, but it's not going to happen... Until now there was a nice breeze that kept them mostly at bay. However, today it's perfectly still and they're out in big numbers... and very hungry.
4 May 2023 at 01 UTC
For EU stations: I plan to be on 20 m between 05:30 and 08 UTC, and then on 15 m between 08 and 10 UTC. If the propagation on 15 m drops, I will go back to 20 m, where I logged EU stations until past 10:30 UTC.
3 May 2023 at 18:30 UTC
I woke up this morning feeling much better after a good night rest. Unfortunately, I am having some problems with electrical power, but will manage. I will keep operating until May 7 at 18 UTC. Although I logged a few EU stations on 17 and 15 m, 20 m has been the band for EU. Since I arrived on the island the planetary index has dropped and stayed around K=1, which was a blessing.
3 May 2023 at 09 UTC
I have been able to arrange with the locals and the people in charge of the school to setup the station on the north part of the island, which gives me great propagation path to Europe, not only to North America and Japan. It took a full day of negotiations on May 1, and I didn't want to start working from the village location in the meantime, since my path to EU would have been completely obstructed by the surrounding hills.
The K index decreased, and so I was able to reach virtually every single DXCC in Europe. I made 1300 contacts in a little over a day, but I do have some bad news: I have a serious case of gastro-enteritis. I have never experienced anything similar in all my trips. I am very sorry, not sure how it happened, because I was extremely careful, but it had to be associated with the food I ate here... Not only that I must take often breaks, because I am very sleepy, but the running stomach has given me some serious challenges and embarassement.
In any case, please do not worry, since I am not going to leave. I'll just hang in there, but if you are curious to know why I'm not staying longer on the bands at times, now you know. This started yesterday this time, and it has been a big pain throughout the day and night. Rest assured that I will continue to be as active as possible.
28 April 2023
I arrived in Nadi at 05:50 am local time (UTC+12), with a delay of about 45 min compared to the announced schedule. All my bags arrived in good condition. The flight to Suva was uneventful, and a taxi took me to Antoine's (3D2AG) home. A little later he accompanied me to go shopping for some electrical components (power supply cables, power bar, connectors, etc.) under a torrential rain. I found everything I needed, and a couple of hours later the sun is shining brightly with virtually no cloud in the sky. Learned today that "c" in Fijian is pronounced like "d", so the name of the island I'll be travelling to is pronounced... Yanuda!
21 April 2023
There are a few more days before my departure to Fiji. All my equipment has been checked and will be packed shortly for the long voyage. I learned that the locals in Yanuca have no tables or chairs, as they are used to sit down on palm leaf carpets. This seems much better than sitting on rocks inside the tent on Bouvet, but I decided to bring along a folding table and chair, which I think that will be helpful when operating long hours. There is no solar power grid and no generators on Yanuca. Moreover, there are no gas generators on Taveuni. As such, I will bring along a diesel generator. Worth noting, depending on the sea condition and weather, if my cargo will be deemed too heavy, I will have to organize two trips to get everything to the island.
I am pretty excited, but it doesn't appear that this planned activity triggered a lot of interest among the IOTA chasers. In any case, while thanking again those who graciously supported this project with a donation of $10 or more, I would like to assure them that if they'll make the log I will confirm their contacts by both direct QSL and LoTW without OQRS.
12 April 2023
There have been two previous operations from OC-189, the first in 1993 and the second in 2007. I will be travelling to Fiji for the sole purpose of bringing this IOTA reference back on the air after a 16-year hiatus. OC-189 currently ranks #47 of the IOTA most wanted, in demand by almost 90% of its membership.
I will be flying from home to Nadi, and from there to Taveuni Island. The trip to Yanuca will be done using the services of a driver with a motor canoe, similar to what I experienced during my voyage in April/May 2018 to Duff Island, OC-179 (H40D). There are no typical tourist accommodations in Yanuca, and so I had to obtain permission from the local Chief to visit and operate from their village. I have also retained services in Taveuni that will allow me to resource a generator, gas, as well as food and water provisions for my stay in Yanuca.
My goal is to make 4000 QSOs with 2500 unique stations located on six continents. I will operate primarily on 10, 12, 15, 17, 20, and 30 m, using CW and SSB. Worth noting, Club Log ranks 3D2 relatively high, at #58 on the list of most wanted DXCC in Europe. As such, I will be looking for European stations in SSB, not just in CW, at the appropriate times.
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