Making the first QSO from the Spratly Islands as 9M6OO, August 1997
(QSO totals are guesstimates)
1979: VS6AK, Hong Kong. Guest operation by the 1S1DX team enroute to Brunei and the sailboat heading for the Spratly Islands. (2,300 team QSO's)
1979: VS5OO, Brunei. Operation from the home of Moody, VS5MS... while preparing for the sailboat departure to the Spratly Islands, and after returning from first attempt. (10,000 QSO's)
1979: 1S1DX... Spratly... well... almost. Departed Brunei on March 29, 1979 on the yacht Banyandah, heading for Amboyna Cay; a 900 foot long sand cay in the Spratly Islands. Team members on board:
Stew Woodward K4SMX, Bill Poellmitz K1MM, Harry Meade, VK2BJL
Dr. Austin Regal N4WW, John Ackley, KV4KV (now KP2A), Bob Schenck N2OO
Boat Captain, Jack Binder (now KB7NW) & Judith Binder (Jack's xyl)
Upon arrival at Amboyna Cay, on the morning of April 1, while sitting about one mile off the coast, we are fired upon by the inhabitants of Amboyna Cay. Four blasts reverberated from a gun placement in the center of the island. Luckily missed. We headed back to Brunei. Once back in Brunei, N4WW headed home... KP2A (VS5KV) & N2OO (VS5OO) decided to stay in Brunei and operate from there, and provide communications to the Banyandah during their second attempt. K4SMX, K1MM and VK2BJL headed back out to try to find an uninhabited island in the Spratly's to operate from. 1S1DX eventually came on the air for about 70 hours, making over 13,000 QSO's from Barque Canada Reef; a 30 foot wide sand cay.
1980: 9M6MU, Sabah, East Malaysia. My first operation from what was to become Hillview Gardens, Alfons Undan's home in Keningau. Team:
Bob Schenck N2OO, Gary Medford N2CW (sk), John Ackley KP2A, Alan Kan VS5TX
This DXpedition was run entirely on a diesel generator, before electricity was available at Alfons' house on the hill! (20,000 QSO's)
1980: VS5OO and VS5GM. Right after the 9M6MU operation, N2CW and N2OO moved over to Brunei where we operated from Alan's home (VS5TX) for a short operation. (5,000 QSOs)
1981: KP2A/D Desecheo Island DXpedition. This IDXF DXpedition held the record for the most QSO's by a DXpedition for many years. Probably the first of the so called "super DXpeditions". 19 operators. 6 stations. Two operating sites about a mile apart. Hormel Chili and Spaghettio's for almost every meal! Hermit crabs all over the place! Ice cream on a DXpedition??? Desecheo Hilton on the beach! Vertical set up underneath one of the stations! Wind! The flea tent! HOT! Desolate! Snorkelling in the cove. Pizza in Mayaguez! Zany Pat! (43,000 QSO's)
1982: KP2A/KP1 Navassa Island. Another IDXF DXpedition. 9 operators. Article on this DXpedition was in TIME Magazine! Renting tents in Jamaica for the trip. Long boat ride. Climbing the 40 foot wire rope ladder! Hauling up all that gear! Goats. Haitian fishermen. Hiking up to the lighthouse. The 4 holer! Bathing in the cistern! Rats getting into the food! Moths!!! The Navassa railroad! Ham grafiti all over! (A real DX history lesson right on all the walls) Chicken feathers! Zany Pat again! (34,000 QSO's)
1989: N2OO/SV5, Rhodes. Got together with old friend Jack, SV0AA and went to Rhodes. Stayed in an unoccupied apartment. 20 hour ferry ride! Topless beaches! Ruins! The best Calamari at the "Golfer Restaurant". Tour of the VOA station. First time to fly overseas solo. 2 stations set up. TH2 and Butternut HF6V on roof railing. INFAMOUS QSL card. (10,000 + QSO's)
1989: N2OO/SV1, Athens, Greece. While waiting to return home, did some operating from Jack's home. (500 QSO's)
1989: 9M6OO, Sabah, East Malaysia. Return to Borneo! Team:
The local 9M6 hams made this an extraordinary return for me and a memorable experience for the rest of the team. They threw a special banquet in our honor in conjunction with the beginning of Visit Malaysia Year (1990). In attendance was the Chief Minister of Sabah, who I had the honor of sitting with at the head table! Headlines in the local newspaper! Radio interviews! Met Alfons' new XYL Doris, 9M6DU for the first time! Mount Kinabalu for the first time! Anchor Beer QSL card!! Cooling Doris' brakes with Anchor Beer bottles full of water! Thanksgiving in Sabah was neat AND different! First met 9M6IQ, 9M6ET, 9M6MA, 9M6MX.... others.. (25,000 QSO's)
1989: XX9OO, Macau (also XX9JG & XX9AF & XX9IS). After the 9M6OO operation, the team stopped for several days in Macau at the home of Peter, XX9KA, where we were treated royally! Roast New Zealand lamb dinner! A most unusual bar! Junk's being built! (5,000 QSO's)
1990: SV5/N2OO & SX5AA, Rhodes. A return trip with Jack, SV0AA. Brought Charlie, WA3TYF along for the ride. Special call SX5AA was used in the CQWW-WPX-CW contest. Rocky ferry ride. More topless beaches (yawn). Charlie, WA3TYF to the rescue when a yl neighbor's bathing suit top blew off our sunbathing roof/antenna farm and floated down 10 stories! :-) More INFAMOUS QSL cards in color this time! (10,000 QSO's)
1990: V85OM, Brunei. A return to Brunei after 10 years! Stayed with Bill, V85AA. My first solo DXpedition. Lita's curried chicken! (5,000 QSO's)
1990: 9M6OO, Sabah, East Malaysia. Back to Alfons' house for another visit and some quiet warm hospitality. Helium balloon vertical with Alfons' son, Jason! (5,000 QSO's)
1991: No call: West Malaysia. Honeymoon! A wonderful weeklong stay for the newlyweds (Bob & Beth) on RAWA Island, owned by the family of Moody, VS5MS. A1 accommodations! Tropical beach. Bobbing in the South China Sea.(0 QSO's) (Hey! It WAS a Honeymoon, OK?)
1991: V85OO & V85XYL. Brunei. Time for the HONEYMOON DXpedition! My new lovely bride is also a HAM... Beth, KF2BQ! We do our very first DXpedition together from the home of Bill V85AA who gave us his ham shack for a week as a honeymoon present! Jackfruit. Lita's great cooking! Honeymoon wishes from all over the world in the pileups! Neat! (5,500 QSO's)
1991: 9M6OO & 9M6BQ, Sabah, East Malaysia. The HONEYMOON continues at Alfons and Doris's house. Social time with "some" radio! Spent a couple of days at Mount Kinabalu! Rain forest hike. (2,500 QSO's)
1991: 9V1YQ, Singapore. A brief visit with Dick, 9V1YQ. Only a handful of QSO's. Bird Park. City tour. Shopping. Familiar food!
1991: VS6/N2OO & VS6/KF2BQ (and VS6VO), Hong Kong. At the home of Graeme, VS6VO. The biggest and loudest pileups I have ever heard! Lot's of shopping in Hong Kong. A private junk ride around Hong Kong!! Dinner on Lama island! Ride to Victoria Peak on the famous Tram! Great hospitality by Graeme and his family! (5,000 QSO's)
1995: July: N2OO/3 & KF2BQ/3, Assateague Island, Maryland, IOTA NA139. Beth and I head for DX lands closer to home. 3 days. Campground setup. Battery operated station. Rotary dipole. Ponies wandering around campsite. Horse poop! Mosquitoes! Tent! Lightning storm on the beach. (1,000 QSO's)
1995: N2OO/p & KF2BQ/p, Long Beach Island IOTA NA-111. IOTA contest from the garage/driveway of old friend Sandy Medford who was the XYL of Gary Medford, N2CW who became a silent key back in 1985. Poor conditions! Great hospitality! (400 QSO's)
1995: October: N2OO/3, KF2BQ/3, N2UMM/3 & WB2SPP/3, Assateague Island, IOTA NA-139. This time, Beth and I brought MaryAnn and John along for a taste of DXpeditioning on Assateague! (1,500 QSO's)
1996: N2OO/p & KF2BQ/p, Long Beach Island IOTA NA-111, IOTA contest. From the porch of Hill, WX2M. Set up antenna in the driveway! Went to local radio club picnic in the middle of the contest. (500 QSO's)
1997: KP2/N2OO, KP2/KF2BQ, KP2/N2LD. The "Fred" DXpedition to Saint Croix! John (N2LD) and xyl Linda join us for a DXpedition/IOTA Contest/vacation to Windwood Contest Villa on St Croix! Mongoose! Shopping! The beer drinking pig! No Bones Cafe, FIRST PLACE NORTH AMERICA in the IOTA Contest!! How to feed your pet HAM in a contest! (2,500 QSO's)
1997: 9M6HIL, Sabah, East Malaysia... the HILLVIEW GARDENS GRAND OPENING special event station! (9M6AAC is the regular callsign) With N0RN, YB0US, ZL1TX (ex VS5TX), 9M2RS, and a host of local 9M6's! BIG event included ribbon cutting ceremony by Sabah's Minister of Tourism & Environment! Entertainment by "ELVIS of SABAH"! A great time was had by all! Congratulations Alfons 9M6MU and Doris 9M6DU! You finally did it! (5,500 QSO's)
1997: 9M6OO, Layang-Layang Island, SPRATLY ISLANDS! I FINALLY make it to the Spratly Islands 18 years after the first attempt failed (1979). With N0RN and YB0US. A short 4 day operation in the middle of the Hillview Gardens grand opening celebration. 3 rigs, 2 beams and a vertical. We made alot of DXers happy! Spratly at last! (10,000 QSO's)
1998: N2OO/KH9 (and N6MZ/KH9, N2WB/KH9, K8XP/KH9) WAKE Island, where the sun first rises on American soil (first US possession west of the dateline)! Invited by Dateline DX Association to go on this DXpedition! What an opportunity!!! Met team in Honolulu. Stayed at Hilton Hawaiian Village!! Toured Arizona memorial. First class travel to Wake! 4 stations! Moderate propagation conditions. Set up in an old AT&T building! It was like I never left work! Put an A3 on top of an old air traffic control tower. Wandering around the island in the Mighty Mits #22! Standing at the old Pan Am dock. Meeting Dr. Kleiwer; one of the Marine pilots from WWII who just happened to be visiting Wake for the first time since he was taken away as a POW by the Japanese in 1942! Eating in a mess hall for the first time! Sushi for the first time! It was great! A MOST rewarding DXpedition! (22,500 QSO's)
1998: N2OO/p Long Beach Island IOTA NA-111, IOTA Contest with John, N2LD. Set up in the Barnegat Light Fire House which is right next to a town water tower. Set up Old Barney ARC's TH3 and a 40 inv vee on their 50 foot tower trailer in the municipal yard near the water tower. Also set up a D3 rotary dipole on a pole on the roof of the firehouse. Immediately upon starting the contest, we set off a chlorine alarm at the water tower's pump building (RFI caused by wiring of alarm circuit). Turned off amplifier. Still set off the alarm. Tried D3 without amp and no RFI so we continued the contest on that. Poor conditions. Otherwise, a modest score under frustrating conditions. Firemen were great! (1,000 QSO's)
1999: KP2/N2OO & KP2/KF2BQ, Saint Croix. Yes, a return trip in June/July to the Island Villa Contest station on top of a 900 foot hilltop on the north coast of Saint Croix. Beth and I had a wonderful, relaxing vacation. Bobbing in the pool in between pileups. Burgers in Paradise! No No Bones! Drove out to Point Udall, the furthest point east in the USA.... well that is debatable, see Wake Island above! Let's say "in the USA - North America"! (3,500 QSO's)
1999: 9M6AAC, Sabah - East Malaysia. The first and last leg of what was called "The 1999 Hillview Gardens Borneo DXpedition" began in early November (see below). Grand opening of the "new" shack at Hillview Gardens.
1999: 9M6OO, Layang-Layang Island (Spratly). Return to the Spratly Islands! A full blown operation! Team: N2OO, YB0US, N6MZ, N4XP, N4PN & N2WB. Four stations and around the clock operating on all bands 160-6! Pileup diving! Built all the antennas in air conditioned comfort! Experimented with kites. 1,000 QSO's on 6 meters! Couldn't have done it without all the help from Jani YB0US! (20,724 QSO's)
1999: V85OO, Brunei. A wonderful experience visiting the 27th Annual SEANET Convention where we all met the Prince (Deputy Sultan)! Then, a 3 day operation from V85AA's home! A most memorable visit! Team: N2OO, YB0US, N4PN & K8MR. (6,000 QSO's)
1999-2000: W1K, West Creek NJ Special Event celebrating the END OF THE 1,000 MILLENNIUM!. From Dec 19, 1999 - Jan 2, 2000. Just for FUN! Happy Y2K! Goodbye to the Y1K years! 2,639 QSO's.
2000: KH6/N2OO & KH6/KF2BQ. Operating from the Sea-Q-Maui Bed & Breakfast
2000: W2T. Special Event with Old Barney ARC (Aug 19 & 20) from the Tucker's Island Lighthouse in the Tuckerton Seaport. Fun in the sun with our friends from Old Barney! 1,218 QSO's by group. International Lighthouse Activity Weekend.
2001: A strange year. We returned with the Old Barney ARC to operate from W2T and N2OB (see 2000). Then, in August Beth and I joined Skip N1IBM and XYL Tamie for an IOTA DXpedition to Sheffield Island, CT IOTA NA-136. The events of 9/11 caused me to cancel a planned trip to SE Asia.
2002: N2CW/3. Smith Island, MD IOTA NA-140. Joined Skip N1IBM and XYL Tamie for a weeklong IOTA DXpedition to Smith Island, MD in the Chesapeake Bay. Made 3,320 QSO's and had a wonderful time with the locals on the island. Ate LOTS of crabcakes! Also operated with Old Barney ARC as W2T from Tucker's Island Lighthouse.
2003: BW4/N2OO. Taiwan. Made 127 QSO's while visiting Paul BV4FH prior to BQ9P DXpedition.
2003: BQ9P. Pratas Island DXpedition TEAM MEMBER. Joined the BQ9P team for a fabulous DXpedition to this "off the beaten track" Taiwanese Military Base several hundred miles south of Taiwan. Team made 25,463 QSO's in a 6 day operation! Great ops. Had a wonderful time with this multi-national team.
2003: 9M6OO. Sabah - East Malaysia. Made 6,476 QSO's from Hillview Gardens (home of 9M6AAC/9M6A) during my 4 week visit after the BQ9P DXpedition! Had a great time visiting with my long time friends in Borneo!
2004-2008: In 2001 I created the QSL Managers Society in an effort to honor and provide a list of quality QSL Managers who agree to abide by a “QSL MANAGER”S CREED”. It has been a very rewarding experience indeed. In 2008, I was inducted into the CQ DX HALL OF FAME! You can see my presentation on my QRZ.COM webpage where Ralph K0IR made the presentation at the DX Dinner in Dayton. I was QSL Manager for 3 major DXpeditions; 3Y0X 2006, VU7RG/VU7MY 2007 and K5D 2009. Have enormous assistance from my QSL team at SJDXA! Also, operated N2OB and W2T special events again most of these years.
2009: VK9LA Lord Howe Island. TEAM MEMBER. Joined the VK9LA team for my first DXpedition below the equator! To the land down under! I operated all CW. Made many new friends and enjoyed the most beautiful island I ever visited! http://vk9la.info/ has some gorgeous pictures! Team made 30,000 QSO’s and the pileups were extreme fun!
DXpeditioning is in my blood! It is the ultimate amateur radio experience combining adventure, competition, camaraderie, friendships and memories..... all through the wonderful world of amateur radio!!! It makes life just a little more interesting and ...worthwhile! Where else can you go on a trip, and bring the entire world of amateur radio along for the ride?
see ya' in the pileups!
Bob Schenck, N2OO/9M6OO
last updated June 7, 2011