The 3Y0C Story
Chuck's "family" in ZS
Chuck's location on Bouvet
Stone frm Bouvet
YANKEE ZERO CHARLIE - CHUCK BRADY ( N4BQW ) BOUVET
Dec 2000 to March 2001
IT HAPPENED & told by 3Y0C's
PILOT de Dennis Wells ZS1AU
in SOUTH AFRICA.
visitor, Doctor Charles ( Chuck ) Brady, N4BQW,
arrived in Cape Town in November 2000.
Using a 2 meter hand
held, he came across ZS1DTM, ZS1GPF
Chuck was looking for a DXer and my name and callsign came up,
after all it has been around for over 50 years.
What happened after that is history but what a wonderful 3 months it has
been. I had the privilege of being associated with this
fellow radio amateur who must be rated as one of the greatest DXer's of all
will only be made known when he sets foot on BOUVET. This was a closely guarded secret. A list of frequencies to be used
from 160M to 6M, including
the WARC bands RTTY, SSB and
CW, was drawn up.
The most sophisticated amateur radio and other electronic equipment was
being checked by ZS1CM, here in Cape Town prior to departure.
This operation was going to be something BIG.
left on a ship called the POLARSTERN, and he
operated as N4BQW / MM.
Chuck landed on BOUVET he strung up
a 20m dipole. .We decided to launch 3Y0C to the world on the 16 December 2000
and the time 0700z . .
I gathered a crowd onto
14340 khz. At the
designated time I called N4BQW.
THERE WAS NO CHUCK. The
minutes went by, AND THEN, after
waiting 25 minutes, Chuck came on
as N4BQW. We had a
COUNT DOWN and a LIFT-OFF of
3Y0C .....from BOUVET.
Within half an hour the
pile-up had begun..
were set up by Deon Erwin,
and Bruce Richards WD4NGB,
On Christmas Eve, 24 December, Chuck
sent a digital photo of himself on the Island.
It was loaded into a passing
satellite and then e-mailed to SOUTH AFRICA.
It was placed on the websites, in
colour and in remarkable detail, within
hours of it being taken.
came the flood of e-mails and guest book entries.
The whole world was chasing 3Y0C.
Although he had other duties to perform on the Island,
Chuck knew that there were
stations out there that needed 3Y.
SUNSAT ( South Africa's own satellite ) was thrown in to give Chuck a
first from ZS to BOUVET on the" Parrot "repeater, on board SUNSAT.
This Parrot repeater was the
brain child of Henry Chamberlain,
ZS1AAZ. It was fitting
that Henry was the first to contact Chuck,
followed by Dr Dave Reece,
few weeks later while routine work was being performed on SUNSAT by the
Stellenbosch University, it
failed to respond and is now out of
PARROT " QSO was remarkable.
It was a repeater in the simplex mode and timing of
transmitting and receiving
was controlled by bleep tones. Chuck
was using a 2m hand held as SUNSAT passed over BOUVET for approximately 12
minutes. We have to thank
Pieter ZS1PK, one of the nine engineering students who built SUNSAT.
He programmed it to switch
on for a pass directly over BOUVET
and with the foot print covering
Chuck had put up the HEXBEAM
for HF and
6m , the VERTICAL for
160m to 40m, signals improved. I maintained
daily skeds with him on 14340 khz.
It was expected of me to set up skeds and find the best times and
frequencies to work the various sectors of the world.
The VK's, ZL's and JA'S
found that signals over the poles were not that good.
Bill Wells, VK4UA,
their regions that 3Y0C
would be on 14346khz from 0600z to
0800z daily. Just when things
were going fine Chuck lost his antenna during the night. Then the vertical
snapped , then the dipoles and
then the HEXBEAM mast broke.
the new year, more BIG drama.......... the
diesel engine gave trouble. It is
losing oil at such a rate that they would run out of fuel. This gave cause for concern. There was also a smaller
gasoline generator but not
sufficient fuel so we consider
making a conversion to propane gas.
Experts in Cape Town &
even in Port Elizabeth where Barry Jackson,
ZS2H, an Engineer who had
been on MARION ISLAND, were
working on methods for making it work with the accent on safety.
There were only a few hours of battery left and then,
NO MORE 3Y0C.
After a lengthy period of hard work they got the diesel engine fixed and
there was no need for the conversion. The diesel engine carried on running until
they left the island. PHEW
Linear Amplifier failed to
function.when it was really needed.
The experts were called to solve the problem
but to no avail. Chuck reported
very good reception as there was a low noise level and no interference.
Scandanavians were having a tough time getting over
Europe. We tried
them going over the north pole and that
worked well. Chuck
reported that 70% of his contacts were
in Europe. Japanese
were the most disciplined and polite operators.
Chuck fealt they deserved a better chance. The West coast of the USA
found it difficult working 3Y0C. A
very difficult area was also the middle East and
all those months of harsh weather the 160m dipole had 25 joints and the HEXBEAM
mast was in six pieces. Let's
try the 160m, 80m and 40m
bands again. The word spread
to the BIG guns on the LF bands.
ZS3D, ZS6EZ, ZS6UT and several of the locals like ZS1PDT, ZS1MJJ, ZS1BW,
ZS1DUP, ZS1B, ZU1G
got up at 3am in the morning . TOP BAND was the difficult one and the
only contact made was on CW with
ZS6EZ. Chuck worked
" the early morning gang " on 80m
but not many on 40m. The
DX qrm was tremendous. Chuck
kept going for long stretches and then on to the HF bands.
He was awake for ..... thirty six..... hours. !!!
At daybreak the VK's, ZL's,
Europe ( long path )
were at him.
We could hear Chuck giving stations many
chances and repeats, until
that contact was, A
was other work to be done on the Island and
when Chuck did not show up at a specific time, the WORLD wondered if
he had been blown away .... AGAIN.....or maybe the batteries were flat.
Then.....we heard.....3 Y
ZERO CHARLIE.........and we
all heaved a sigh of relief.......he's still OK.
Chuck now suggests that Bill
our 6m expert,
get up onto high ground and set
up a station on 50,120 mhz Within
a day BILL, and Buddy McCallum, ZS1MP,
had got organised to set up a station at CAPE POINT,
the nearest you will get to
BOUVET Island from the African continent. The
site is some 800 feet above the sea.
Ron Marlow, ZS1RON,
had arranged for a permit to enter this restricted wild game park.
They borrowed a 3 element beam from
Dr Bud Voortman, ZS1B.
was so keen to join his buddies and was making such a noise around the
house that his XYL said , RON,
go enjoy yourself.
The 3 of them ( all members of THE
FALSEBAY RADIO ELECTRONICS and COMPUTER CLUB. ) arrived at Cape Point in a howling, cold and gale force wind.
Chuck was experiencing bad
weather, except that it was
ten times worse. Bill had a 6
element yagi for 6m with 150 watts .
As it was impossible to erect the triband beam.
A 20m dipole was erected and
this worked well
They succeeded in working 3Y0C on 20m, 40m and 80m
but were unsuccessful on 6m .
Like MARCONI, they deserved
success. What came out of this was
a bondage of a friendship. It was a
tremendous effort on both sides.
keen can a DXer get ? No
keener than Hans,
OH2EA, from Helsinki.
Hans was not in Helsinki,
but in Bangkok on holiday to get away from the cold weather in Finland.
A friend in Helsinki Ossi,
OH3YI, kept sending regular
reports about 3Y0C on BOUVET.
By January just a handful of OH's had
made it and
Hans was getting worried about missing 3Y again.
Getting a flow of information regards Chuck and his troubles , his heart
went out to Chuck.
got a message from OH3YI on 7 February. " QSO's are starting to flow into
Finland. Now is the
time." Well to any diehard
DXer, needing the last one, the
decision was to get home fast.
15 February 2001, Hans is at the
Bangkok airport at midnight. Hans
arrived back in Helsinki at noon on 16 February and immediately called
Ossi, OH3YI, who
I had been told via e-mail about Hans travelling
half way around the world. I mentioned
to Chuck about this flying Finn and
we agreed that this was something special.
Suffering from jetlag Hans had an afternoon nap and then went into his
shack. He tuned the 15M band and he
found Chuck. Hans
stayed on one frequency. Hans
called twice and like music to his ears he heard..........OH2EA...59..59...FROM
Chuck says " Aren't you
the guy that flew from Bangkok to Finland,
just for a QSO ? !!!!!!
Hans asked Chuck if he can
try CW. Chuck says stay on your split frequency and I will call you.
It is a rock solid qso. WOW !!!!
Hans blessed all the GODS in Ham DX
heaven.....and Chuck too. !!!
GOD BLESS and thank you
Chuck. de Hans OH2EA.
Jelgersma, PA8AA, told me the story
about his predicament with 3Y5X in
1989 / 90.
was in hospital undergoing surgery to replace his heartvalve with the first
human heart valve,
Europe. This wrecked his
chance of working 3Y5X. He
said " If I don't get 3Y this
time, I will not make it next time. "
I made a sked with Peter and
one evening while I was on 14195 khz, Chuck
came up and heard PA8AA.
Peter worked his final country to complete a full house.
The next morning , my phone
rang and it was an excited Peter.
Dennis !! I was
so excited I almost forgot to enter the contact in the log. Peter has phoned me several times and has
made an offer of a very substantial amount of
US$ towards the printing of the
QSL cards which must be worthy of this great, one man operation.
So, when you receive
your QSL from 3Y0C , remember how
much joy , satisfaction,
sacrifice went into making
it possible. Thank you Peter.
spare a thought for Mac, WA4FFW,
the QSL manager who will need plenty
E L P with the
hand written log. (
40 thousand + contacts )
there was Nob Yamashita, JE2QYZ,
a school teacher in JAPAN
who sent a beautiful colour picture, of himself surrounded by his scholars who
are also members of an amateur
radio club. They are proudly holding several certificates
which had been awarded to them.
The children were so interested in this Island which Nob was so
desperately trying to contact, for
weeks on end. They also learnt so much and were facinated by this lonely Island of BOUVET.
Nob was alerted to try the
long path over South America around 0600z on 14336, he made it
and the whole class was
one who tried the hardest and appeared to be the most frustrated was Jussi,
e-mails arrived almost everyday
trying to find the best way to find Chuck and then try and make a contact,
through that terrible southern europe QRM. I was very pleased when Jussi sent me his
last e-mail and said " I thank
everybody. I got Chuck with only a
few days left."
ZR1DQ, had been listening and kept daily reports about 3Y0C.
As his ZR callsign precludes him from speaking to Chuck on HF,
Deon decides to work Chuck on CW.
With a day or two to go before 3Y0C goes QRT, Deon, with
the assistance of Peter Breytenbach,
ZS1ADP, took the key and
rattled out 3Y0C de ZR1DQ. 3Y0C came back and they exchanged reports
and....IT WAS A GOOD ONE . !!!!! This
was the first for a ZR to BOUVET and Deon is in the records book.
tried to please as many as possible
Harry, KH6FKG, and myself
were in trouble because Chuck said he does not break a promise.
Both Harry and
I and later Bill, VK4UA, also
came under fire. The
" promises "gave us grey hairs and
thanks to e-mails we tried
our best to get these squared away.
or "help information " was sent to the pilots to pass on to Chuck.
This eventually helped in trying to get into every area.
Some areas were just impossible because of location and also time
would you find a man working nonstop under such freezing weather
to concentrate with exchange of callsigns and reports...........which
went on everyday and night for 3 months ? Who gave his best shot ?
B r r r r r r.
N4OL, loyal to the end,
was the mainstay of keeping things together.
This operation had to be first on our priority list
and we had to see it through
to the end. This operation
was continually on the go and
stations did not dry up . There
were more and more ...........they just kept coming.
They needed 3Y0C for the
last one, to make the Honour Roll etc etc etc.
There were those who told the truth.
was due to come off the Island on 2 March 2001.
A week before the time he had everything packed except for the rig and a few dipoles and he was still
giving it stick at the closing stages. THE
LANCE was encountering bad weather and packice on the way
to pick them up. When the ship arrived they could not get off
the Island because of the heavy sea and wind.
The university in the USA had been supplying weather predictions for some
time and it looked as though the WX
was going to get worse.
Chuck still had some battery power , but,
not much , so it was a question of conserving power.
On 5 March at daybreak I was making what I thought was the last QSO
before another lift -off and then silence.........this was it.
6 hours later Chuck called to say they were still on BOUVET.
He wanted me to e-mail Joe,
N4OL,and GET THE VERY VERY VERY LATEST WX FORECAST FOR NOW NOW NOW.
!!!!!!!!! Skip was catching us down here in Cape Town
BUT thanks to Terry, ZS6TMG,
Donovan, ZS6DGG, and Mal,
ZS6MAL, they were in a
position to put a LL call through to Joe,
N4OL, in NORTH CAROLINA, who
gathered the very latest expert forecasting and this was passed back to Chuck
daybreak 6th March,
Ken, KH6CQH and
myself were on 14336khz. .It looked possible to lift off
and with a YES, Chuck signed and we did not hear him again until
the following day ......there he was N4BQW / MM.
Asked about the LOG, Chuck
said it was safe.
his way to Cape Town, Chuck came on
one morning and we were greeted
with ALOHA from Ken, in Hawaii. .
The ZS's weren't finished with Chuck yet.
Can you go 6 meters ? or
, How about trying to get into our
local 2 meter repeaters,
from the ship, some hundreds
of miles out. For the first
time in months Chuck is relaxing and enjoying the warmer weather and the calm
March , Sunday morning at 0745z
N4BQW / MM gives a brief call.
His handy batteries are flat but he
tells us on our Tygerberg repeater that
the pilot is coming aboard. It
was a BIG day for CAPE TOWN and
thousands of people streamed into the city.
Chuck must have thought they
were all hams but they were not. Chuck's arrival
co-incided with the Cape Cycle Tour race.
Close on 40 thousand cyclists were taking part. It is the BIGGEST bicycle
race in the world. When
I had told him about this race, some
months ago, about entering , he was quite keen, but
we were only kidding. Some
of the locals were down at the dockside to see THE LANCE
come into Table Bay . It
was a perfect morning and the view of TABLE
MOUNTAIN from the ship must have impressed everyone on board.
the evening of monday 12th March we held
thumbs that Chuck would appear at the
OAKDALE RADIO CLUB, where a large
crowd was expected to welcome him.
personal "taxi driver ", Gerald
and Bernie Crockford,
ZS1BW, went down to
the ship on monday morning . In
the afternoon Chuck gave a talk at the TWO OCEANS AQUARIUM,
where Peter Sauls, ZR1FS, and
his XYL, YVONNE,
were responsible for organising this visit.
in the afternoon Chuck attended a
farewell party for the various SCIENTIFIC
group's who had come back
together on the ship. Later,
Gerald, ZS1GRM / mobile,
brought Chuck to the OAKDALE CLUB
a crowd had begun gathering
2 hours earlier. Amongst the
crowd were a number of fellow amateurs who had travelled thousands of miles to
be present. They were, ZS6TMG,
ZS6UC, and son, ZR6RDU,
who came out to South Africa , from
GERMANY to shake Chuck by the hand.
Hartmut had worked 3Y0C
a few weeks ago. Also
in the crowd but not making himself conspicuous
was David Clark, KB6TAM /
MM. David another
American, is attempting
a circumnavigation of the world, single
handed, to become the oldest man to
achieve this remarkable feat. Unfortunately
his yacht sprang a leak and sank, 200
miles out from Cape Town.
appeared at the entrance to our CLUB HALL and received a tumultuous ovation.
He was welcomed by the MC for the evening,
Dr Dave Reece,
short opening speeches of welcome and presentations were made and
then AN APPRECIATION AWARD was
presented to Chuck on behalf of the VK, ZL and WESTERN PACIFIC RADIO AMATEURS
and LISTENERS and then it was over
to Chuck.. He expressed his
appreciation and thanks to everyone
in turn and then held the entire crowd in the palm of
his hand for over 2 hours.
It was then questions and answers time,
which was most informative and
photographers had a field "day "
and Lyle Engelbrecht ,
ZS1UOK, captured all on
video. A surprise
3 meters long was carried into the hall. This was
something special and the story is
worth telling.............While Chuck/ MM was
on his way to Cape Town, I spoke to
him on 20 m and Peter, ZS1ADP,
joined us. Chuck had difficulty reading
Peter who was using a dipole.
. CHUCK was telling me that he was going to
donate much of his equipment to deserving amateurs in Cape Town instead of
taking it all the way back home. .
As Peter was the one who
supplied Chuck with the very first
contact information to get the DXpedition off to a flying start,
it was a spontaneous gesture that the Hex beam
be given to Peter, ZS1ADP. When Peter heard that
the Hexbeam was his, he
said, THANK YOU !!! And THEN,
suddenly disappeared off the air. A
little while later he reappeared.
had happened was that the gift of " THAT " Hex beam ,
" THE " Hex beam , was
such an unexpected present,
that Peter was speechless at the other end
& overcome with emotion.
Who wouldn't be,
after all , this is the most famous beam in the world,
and it now belonged to Peter.
on the Island some flags were flown
and The Stars and
Stripes of America, was
proudly flown on BOUVET for the very first time.
This very respected flag
was presented to me,
neatly folded, to symbolise the true bond of friendship which had
developed through AMATEUR RADIO, and
also a piece of BOUVET rock (
midnight Chuck was still engulfed
by curious and excited fellow amateurs who had just witnessed one of the most
interesting and fascinating talks,
ever heard. Some of it was out of this world and some down on the " ground " of
by scores of digital pictures on a TV screen.
Wednesday 14th March a few of the
support group and their XYL's
gathered at a restaurant and had a very relaxed and informal get together,
with Chuck as our honoured guest.
Once again Chuck entertained us with some remarkable and most fascinating
stories about his space experiences. It was the opinion of everyone present that
we were indeed a priviliged group
to be in the company of a very courageous and brilliant man.
A parcel of souvenirs received from Dominik,
DL5EBE on behalf of the German radio amateurs was
presented to Chuck
also addressed children at a local
school, where he might have
been facing the future South African Astronaut ?
Chuck was also interviewed on a local Talk Radio show.
spent days and nights packing equipment which had to be returned to various
to his departure for LONDON at
2050 z on 16th March. 2001.
Matt Greyvensteyn , ZS1MJJ,
travelled hundreds of
kilometers with his truck to get Chuck's
large consignment of packages safely
to CAPE TOWN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.
We believe that Chuck was summoned
We sincerely hope that the
ARRL and the various DXpedition Associations
will recognise this 3Y0C,
ONE MAN DXpedition,
as exceptional. Chuck gave his very best to his fellow amateurs..........WORLD
WIDE, enduring the worst
living conditions on this planet, to
keep 3Y0C alive, for the longest period of time a human being has
lived and survived
were times when it looked as though 3Y0C was going to go QRT long before his
stay was over.
KH6FKG, the stalwart pilot
in HAWAII, summed up the operator
as THE SPIDER MAN. We imagined Chuck climbing up and down the
hillside, in the terrible WX
antennae every day and night to
on the air. Chuck
said " IT WAS FUN. !!!! "
was an experience, I
personally, will never forget. Thanks to you
Chuck and all you DXers.
IT WAS THE GREATEST.
HE IS THE GREATEST.