Tahiti island

Papeete, 21/24 February 1998

     After 8 hours of flying our plane landed at the FAAA airport on Tahiti. When we came out of the plane we were surprised at the very hot weather ( 26 degrees C and near 90 % of relative humidity) at 1.30am in the morning. Another surprise was waiting for us at the entry to the airport building, a group of musicians wearing typical Polynesians costumes playing bautiful melodies and two nice girls welcoming each passenger with flowers.
     As our stop here was for four days only, we decided to only take our hand carried luggage and leave the antennas and amplifiers at the custom store to avoid long discussion about the reasons of our visit. This meant we we only had 100 watts from an IC-756 and an IC 706 and some wire antennas. Not too much for one of the most difficult countries from the European point of view.
Tahiti fishermen      We had a voucher for the Royal Tahitien Hotel, but had to spent more than six hours on the airport benches waiting for daylight and a taxi to the hotel. After 15 minutes driving we reached the hotel and after a shower immediately started to put up an antenna. Our first choice was the FD4 as the ARRL CW Contest was in full swing. It was a real problem to find a stick or even a piece of wood for a support for the FD4, but with the assistance of some local people we were able to switch the IC-756 on and take part in the ARRL Contest.
     The next days were vere similar. We tried to be on the air 24 hours a day with one rig only. There was not enough space even we had tried to put up some dipoles for the LF bands. One of the best ideas would have been to use the hospitality of local HAMs. A few weeks before our departure I had sent a number of e-mails and letters to people who had been active from Tahiti as well as to some local amateurs. About half of them answered but they were mostly active from FO a long time ago and their experiences were out of date.
     One of our contacts was William, FO5JV, with who we had a QSO only few days before the trip. He gave us his telephone number and we called him. He said he lived too far from the hotel, he could not speak English and advised us to get in touch with the President of the FO Association, Allan, FO5AA, as it was possible we could use their club station in Papeete which was relatively well equipped with antennas and probably a linear amplifier. We called Allan at least six times a day but only got his answering machine. That was the reason our signals were weak in Europe and why we worked mostly JA and US stations.
     There was no other choice and so we used 100 W and the FD4 Windom antenna until 24 February. As we had a chance to use all our calls we made 3874 QSO's in about three days of activity.
     In the early morning of 24 February we started packing our luggage and equipment and left the hotel later afternoon. As usual, we had to spend a couple of hours waiting at the FAAA airport and at 11.30pm local time we boarded another Jumbo and closed the first chapter of our Pacific story.