Kalaupapa 2011 DXpedition
From August 25 to 29, 2011, five Oahu hams visited Kalaupapa
peninsula and settlement on Molokai to participate in the 2011 Hawaii
QSO Party, activating one of the smallest and rarest counties in the
U.S., Kalawao County.
Joe Speroni AH0A, Kimo Chun KH7U, Ron
Hashiro AH6RH, Bev Yuen AH6NF, and Jim Yuen WH6GS, all members of the
Ko`olau Amateur Radio Club, spent many months planning the trip not
only to operate there, but to assist the National Park Service and
Department of Health staffs in setting up ham radio emergency
During the tsunami alert
following the earthquake in Japan on March 11, 2011, residents of
Kalaupapa had to be evacuated in the middle of the night to higher
ground on the peninsula with little connection with the outside world.
This sparked the interest in having ham radio as a backup
communications plan. Although some residents were hams in the
1940-50's, and possibly into the 1980s, there have been no hams living
there in recent years.
Working with the FCC and ARRL, Joe AH0A
was able to conduct a remote-VE test session. Three Kalaupapa
staff are now newly-licensed ham radio operators: Steve Prokop
WH6DTS (General), Lionel Kaawaloa WH6DTZ (Tech) and Rafael Torres
For the HI QSO Party, we set up on the Paschoal
Hall (auditorium) lanai in the center of town with vertical antennas in
the open field next to the hall. All antennas were mounted on
collapsible fiberglass poles :
* SteppIR, BigIR vertical (10-40 meters)
* 20 meter vertical dipole (home brew)
* All band vertical (10-40 meters)(homebrew by NH7XL)
* Off-center-fed dipole at about 25 feet
Our rigs were:
* Kenwood, TS-480SAT transceiver with an Elecraft KPA500 amplifier.
* Icom IC-7200 transceiver, running barefoot.
* We kept another Kenwood TS-480 as backup.
stations were on the air Friday afternoon, ready for the HI QSO Party
at 6:00 PM Friday evening, operating multi-multi as KH7Q. 20
meters was open to the mainland, then later to Europe. Forty
meters was only marginal. By about 11 PM the bands were slow so
we shut down for some rest. But, we were back before dawn on
Saturday morning and on 20 meters for the morning opening to Europe and
the US mainland. Fifteen meters opened later in the
morning/afternoon, but there was not much on 10 meters. We worked
both SSB and CW during the day from our main station with the
amp. The second station running barefoot was less effective.
encouraged residents to visit our stations and to see what ham radio
was all about. A couple of them even operated. Thanks
to those who were calling us for being patient with these inexperienced
operators. We always had someone there to explain what the
operators were doing. And, each of our stations had 2 headphones
and external speakers to accommodate guests. One of the residents
who had not been on the radio for more than 40 years took the mic and
was delighted to again be on the air after so many years.
finished with more than 850 QSOs, contacting 47 US states and 42
countries as well as all continents except Antarctica. We were on
15, 20 and 40 meters, and a little on 10 meters, mostly SSB, but also
CW. We took time to attend church services at historic Siloama
church, spent a few hours fishing and walked around the town to take a
few photos. On Monday, we installed two UHF/VHF radios in vehicles,
checked connectivity with repeaters on other islands and worked with
the new hams there to get them on the air and familiar with their new
Although our total number of QSOs was lower than we
would have liked, we were pleased with our overall results.
We left with plans to come back to assist the residents with more ham
radio training and to activate Kalawao County again soon.
Hopefully, it will not be long before we get back.
grateful to the staff of the Kalaupapa National Historical Park and the
State of Hawaii, Dep’t of Health for their assistance and
hospitality. Without their support, this trip would not
have been possible. Also, thanks to the residents of Kalaupapa
for their warm welcome. We also thank numerous KARC members and
others who provided equipment, advice and assistance to the group.
QSL via KH7Q or AH6NF (QSL manager for KH7Q).