N4T – Dry Tortugas Youth DXpedition December 14-17, 2018


"DX" is a Morse Code shorthand for "distance" or "distant," and a DXpedition is an expedition to what is considered an exotic place by amateur (otherwise known as ham) radio operators, perhaps because of its remoteness, access restrictions, or simply because there are very few amateur radio operators on the air from that place.  This could be a country, an island, or even a rare Maidenhead grid square.  If they go to a very remote location, the ham radio operators on the DXpedition must bring all of their food, shelter, and equipment to the remote place so they can get on the air and talk to other amateur radio operators from around the world.  The hams who go to great expense and sometimes at great risk of life and limb are a rare breed and they provide the rest of the world's amateur radio operators the opportunity to make contact with these rare entities so they can qualify for operating awards, such as DXCC.

While on the island of Saba in the Dutch Caribbean during the 2016 Dave Kalter Memorial Youth DX Adventure, James (WX4TV–Dad) and some other amateur radio operators discussed the idea of providing young hams with the opportunity to experience what it would be like to go on a DXpedition, where they would operate in austere conditions from remote locations.  The hope is to inspire the next generation of adventurous souls who will take their radios to remote locations around the world to get on the air.

Faith Hannah (AE4FH), Hope (KM4IPF), and Dad (WX4TV) will be operating amateur radio from the Dry Tortugas National Park in December 2018. This trip to the Dry Tortugas is a dry run to see if it is feasible to take other young amateur radio operators to the island to give them the experience of going on an amateur radio DXpedition.  If this trip is successful, the plan is to form a 501-C3 non-profit to begin to take two or three young hams each year to the Dry Tortugas or other islands to give them this experience.

The Dry Tortugas are a desired entity in the amateur radio world, so the team expects to make lots of contacts during the three days that they are on the air from the island.  They will be operating on HF (shortwave) and also the amateur radio satellites, in an attempt to contact as many other amateur radio operators as possible.

To prepare for this trip, the girls and Dad camped in the Crane Point Hammock in the Florida Keys and operated during the RSGB IOTA Contest in late July, 2018.  The girls gained experience in primitive camping skills, preparing food over open fires, and operating from a tent with battery and solar power.

In this video, the girls are learning how to prepare freeze dried Mountain House spaghetti, in preparation for the DXpedition.  The girls don't have much experience camping, yet, and they are working hard to learn the skills that they will need while on the Dry Tortugas. 

Past Amateur Radio Activities

K3Y – IOTA Contest from the Florida Keys – July 28 & 29, 2018


In preparation for the Dry Tortugas Youth DXpedition in December 2018 (See Below), Faith Hannah (AE4FH), Hope (KM4IPF), and Dad (WX4TV) will be operating in the RSGB IOTA (Islands on the Air) contest in Late July.  The team will be operating from Crane Point Hammock in Marathon, Florida.  Dad has a connection to Crane Point–his stepfather used to be the caretaker there in the 1970's!

The team will be active on the HF airwaves for 24 hours from 12:00 GMT on July 28 until 12:00 GMT on July 29. They will use the special event call sign, K3Y (Key).