N7RO/p NA-169 IOTA DXpedition Tatoosh Island WA Aug 27-30, 2009

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by N3QQ, Sep 1, 2009.

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  1. N3QQ

    N3QQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    We would like to share our expirience with you about our trip to Tatoosh island IOTA NA-169, the most North Western point of Continental U.S.

    Tatoosh Island is owned by Makah Tribe, very rare (first/last DXpedition was in 1991 by Yuri Sushkin N3QQ then N7UJN) and very close from our homes, under 200 miles one way, but next to impossible to receive a permission from Makah Tribal Council.

    Unless "You knock in the right door" as Vincent Cooke said (Enviromental Division Manager for The Makah Tribe).
    Our group, consisting of Johnny Kiesel KE7V, Yuri Sushkin N3QQ and Dick Moen N7RO planned this operation for about a month.
    Sticking point was a permission to visit island, so we can operate following all IOTA rules and respecting ownership of the island. Weeks long phone loop, nothing on hand while driving to Neah Bay (departure point).

    Our attitude was "play by the ear", in worst case just long long drive x2.

    We arrived around 12:20PM August 27th, everyone is at lunch. By 4:30PM we have been directed to visit office of Enviromental Division Manager. Could be good news, could be bad news, not knowing outcome we walked in. 30 seconds later we knew we do have a permission from Makah to visit Tatoosh.

    When Vincent Cooke learned we have no transportation lined up to the island (our original contact person did not got skiff on time) Vincent took his time, (undersatement) till 6:30PM to find suitable boat for us.
    We loaded our equipment, stockpiles of food/gas and headed towards Tatoosh.

    6 nautical miles ride $250 one way. Expensive? Yes. On another hand we do need a reliable person to pick us up on time and on a specific day (weather permitting). And instead of operating we will have to set up camp first in the morning if we go with a lower price..
    Yes, during DXpeditions we do think about you, OP on another side of pileup.

    Entrance to the landing beach was dramatic, about 20ft passage if you catch the right wave, seagals started to fly around, scream and it was very loud all the way.
    We learned a lot about birds being on Tatoosh, how they guard their QTH, how they teach chicks to fly and if you a small chick in the wrong place you will be bitten right in the head by other chicks.

    We started to work on the air about 6AM local time August 28, but propagation was dismal.
    After we installed all antennas (Vertical dipole for 20m and 1/4 wave for 40m) and no stations heard on any bands, we took a hike up to the lighthouse.

    Interesting place, many foundations, even partially collapsed building.

    Another member of our team, my 7 year old son, Danny while walking around foundations mentioned to me " I think some people died on this island, when families lived here" I said "Unlikely". He played with kids catapult.

    And I learned today, he was correct:

    We tried our best working on the radio. As Johnny KE7V said, over 100 years of Ham Radio expirience between 3 of us (tnx to Dick N7RO for 57 years!).
    But we had a bright moments too, at one opening, six ears has been listerning, Johnny was sending, I was entering calls in the log. It did not lasted long, but we had lots of fun!

    We did encountered few anomalies: no contact with Bellingham on 40m sked, absolutely nothing on 6m besides one burst of VE8 beacon (we had 4el 6m yagi installed).
    We had abt 400-500W, IC-7600 as a main rig and IC-7000 as a b/up.
    Atmospheric noises and "whispering " signals most of the time. We made touch over 900 contacts during our two and a half days trip and we hope to see you agn on the air!
    PSE QSL via N7RO.

    N7RO/P Team
    Yuri Sushkin N3QQ
    John Kiesel KE7V
    Dick Moen N7RO
  2. NA9J

    NA9J XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for Tatoosh!!!

    I for one had a great experience after the pleasant surprise of my qso on 20m ssb with N7RO/P.
    He gave me the IOTA number and the description, but there were other callers so I waited until he called cq a few times and asked for the island' name.
    REALLY COOL!!! I looked it up and wiki (free as long as you don't use a logging program) an several other sites educated me about the island (or group of islands) the Indians, and the history and location.
    I shared this info excitedly with my wife and several other friends...
    I thank you for your efforts and am glad you nver gave up - it was a great thing you all did!!!
    Believe I got a 2nd qso later on another band/mode too - 30 CW w/o looking it up!!!
    Great job - thanks again.
    John NA9J
  3. W2FBS

    W2FBS Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Tried, but no cigar!

    I sure listened for you guys, but only heard traces of your signal on several frequencies. Sorry we missed you. It would have been nice to have Tatoosh in the log! Thanks for your efforts.
    Rich W2FBS
  4. W5JAO

    W5JAO Ham Member QRZ Page


  5. CT1BXX

    CT1BXX XML Subscriber QRZ Page


    I am very glad to have the oportunity to contact you inspite the conditions.
    Thanks for a new Iota.

    Till another Dxepedition
    CT1BXX - Manuel Fernando
  6. KW0U

    KW0U Ham Member QRZ Page

    Glad you got there

    Sorry I missed you guys. Missed seeing anything about it on the DX or IOTA info sites, but probably wouldn't have mattered anyway given the stinko conditions. Thanks for putting this rare one out. Hope you get a chance to activate "America's Rockall" again sometime!
  7. SM1TDE

    SM1TDE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the QSO

    It was nice working you on 20m CW for a new one.
    Gotland island
  8. KE7JA

    KE7JA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I wished I'd known you were on Tatoosh...

    Tatoosh Island brought back a few memories for me. My youngest brother learned that "tatoosh" in the Chinook Trading Jargon meant "breast". He was about 12 or 13 years old at the time and took great delight in commenting on the "big tatoosh's" of well endowed young women...

    I've flown over Tatoosh many years ago in my homebuilt airplane. It seemed a long way off the coast at the time... funny how when you're over water at a low altitude that the engine always starts to sputter and run rough..

    John KE7JA
  9. N7BT

    N7BT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Good job guys. Wish that I could have been there, maybe next time.
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