Kranket Island PNG DXpedition—OC-258
By Jerry Walker - P29ZAD
Kranket Island is just off the coast of the main Island (OC-034) of Papua New Guinea (PNG). It is inhabited with several villages with no utilities or roads. 5.2S, 145.9E
The previous year I (Jerry—P29ZAD) was on Tabor Island OC-099 for work doing an audio dubbing of the JESUS film. In the evening I tried to work as many stations as I could. I figured with Papua New Guinea (PNG) having so many rare IOTA, I better start working them. For my first trip I wanted to have a simple low cost trip that would be easy to plan. I looked up all the P2 IOTA and found that OC-258 was still in the rare category. Most other islands were difficult and expensive to get to them, but we all vacation in Madang, boating over to Kranket Island to go snorkeling. Kranket Island fit the criteria for OC-258, but was not listed as an island. With the help of the Roger Balister—G3KMA, the IOTA manger, I was able to get Kranket Island qualified as part of OC-0258.
Thanks to Island Radio Expedition Foundation for giving us some funding for this trip. THANKS!!!
I set date of the trip for 17-20 March 2006. Our team was limited to the first 5 guys because the double cab pickup truck we were taking only had 5 seats. The Team was Jerry Walker (P29ZAD), Norm Beasley (P29NB), Tommy Logan (P29TL), Scot Stober (P29SS), and Brent Wiebe (P29BW). Tommy, Scot & Brent live in remote villages many months out of the year, so the primitive living is normal for them. As we were gathering equipment, often one them would say, “I have that, but it is in my village”.
We decided to get a special callsign for the trip (P29K). I faxed PANGTEL to request it. I did not get any reply and called them. They said it would be fine for us to use that callsign and they would send me the paperwork. When we left for our trip, we did not have the paper work yet, but most things are very slow in PNG.
Kranket Island is only 100 miles north of our home QTH, but with the winding and poor roads, the trip takes about 5 hours with only one stopping place for food or fuel along the way. Many places the road are washed out or in very poor condition, so four wheel drive is almost a requirement.
After arriving in Madang, we had to take a 45 minute boat taxi ride to the island. Tommy enjoyed hiring the boat during the day and going fishing. He caught us dinner one night.
Our “three star” hotel was just 10 feet from the water. We all laughed at the three star rating. We concluded that it is three star because you could see the stars at night through the holes in the ceiling. We were glad we did not get much rain.
We had 3 stations set up and kept 2 stations going at most the times. We worked a lot of Europe and Japan stations, but were frustrated with the poor band condition and had fewer North America contact then we expected. HL3IB worked us 6 times on different bands and modes.
It took us over about 6 months to finally get our callsign approved. Next time on a trip we will us our personal P2 callsigns. It was great fun and we plan on going on another DXpedition in early 2007. Hope the conditions are better and we get to work you.