CR2F, Ilheus Formigas 2013 Expedition

For the first time the lighthouse on Ilheus Formigas will be activated. It is a difficult and expensive operation because the chartered vessel ANTARES, which sails the team and material from Vila do Porto, Santa Maria island to Formigas and back, will stay all times anchored nearby the Ilheus Formigas to ensure a quick evacuation of the team and equipment in case of sudden weather changes. Station and accommodation will be within the LH so that the operation also counts for the ARLHS award.
As the landing on Ilheus Formigas is very difficult and as the antenna erection around the lighthouse can only be effected at WX with low winds and waves, date can vary by a couple of days. All depends on the WX. Please monitor this page for latest minute information.
Call: CR2F
Date: +/- 30.-31. July 2013
QSL: via HB9CRV, lotw and bureau are OK
Team members: CU3EJ, CU8AS, DL2HYH, HB9AHL, HB9CRV/CT3FN
IOTA: EU-003
Locator: HM77og
WLOTA: LH 4293
WWFF and DPRN award: CTFF-039
DFP: new number!
Coordinates: 3716.0N 024 47.0W
Distance from Sta. Maria: 37 km North East
More information about the Ilheus Formigas can be found here:
An IOTA, Contest and Lighthouse expedition to the stormy island of Flores
As of the beginning we (HB9CQL and HB9CRV) fight against bad weather. Our flight was 24h delayed due to heavy icy rain all over central Europe. Frankfurt airport was closed and we had to stay overnight in a hotel. Upon arrival at Ponta Delgada, SATA had already changed our booking for the flights to Faial and Flores. Of course another stopover was necessary as we missed our connection flight. But finally, after 3 days of travel we arrived on Flores at January 22.
Next day we started with the antenna work and installed two Beverage antennas into direction NE and NW, each 160m long. Before our arrival, Antonio CU8AS and Jose Joaquim, CU8AAF had put up a 40m gp, made of a telescopic aluminum mast. Everything was ready to pull up the 25m high gp, but the wind was too strong that day. We planned to erect the 25m gp as soon as Toze, CT1GFK arrives following afternoon. But the storm was even stronger next day and Flores airport was closed. Toze had no chance to get to Flores in time and as his travel back to Olhao was scheduled for Monday latest, he left Faial on Friday. Also Miguel, CU1CB, didn’t reach Flores in time for the contest. In a short opening on Saturday he finally reached Flores!
We got nervous as the 25m high gp was still on ground and the CQWW 160m CW contest would begin this evening, 22.00 UT. Friday morning the storm was less strong and we saw a chance for the 25m gp. Antonio and Jose Joaquim erected a 12m high gin pole which consisted of a stable aluminum ladder. During lunch the storm came back with full force and destroyed the ladder: It was folded as a V – really unbelievable. So the decision was to cancel our participation into the 160m contest. No CR2W 2013! This is the third time in a row that our 160m antennas have been destroyed by storms and we are asking the question whether or not we will risk it next year again.
When setting up the station it turned out that my K3 has been damaged during transportation. Due to heavy vibrations a nut felt down on the main board, making a short circuit when switching on after the travel. Besides Antonio’s K3 we used a FT1000MP as second station. A second gp for 30m has been constructed and both gps performed very well. CT8/HB9CQL and CT8/CT3FN were on the air in our spare time, i.e. when we didn’t try to erect antennas.
Sunday evening the storm became stronger and the wind speed must have been well over 100 km/h. When loading the car, the storm was so strong that I was carried 2m through the air by the storm and was put back to earth in a very hard manner. Fortunately, I have not broken anything or only partially, but to be on the sure side I decided to come back and have a check at the doctor here in Switzerland. 
On Monday, January 28, 2013 CR2V got QRV with 2 stations, delivering the lighthouse Albarnaz, WLOTA LH 0947 on IOTA EU-089. In 5 days of operation, CR2V made 3200 CW QSOs and 230 RTTY QSOs, all with 100 watts and 2 ground planes antennas. Thanks to a 160m windom antenna, about 6m over ground, CR2V could show up on 160m and 80m, but with an unsatisfactory result. Totally, 4500 QSO?s could be realized.
A big “thank you” goes to OM Antonio for his great hospitality, organization and all his very much appreciated work at the background.
History – Azores
Historically, the Portuguese came on to the scene in 1427 with the discovery of the islands Santa Maria and So Miguel. Due to its strategic geographic position, the archipelago was to become an important way point on the main routes between Europe, the Orient and America during 16th and 17th centuries. This period saw major naval battles around the Azores, while the islands were set upon by pirates. Subsequent centuries saw the development of the islands, introduction of a new agriculture and the development of cattle breeding and fishing. Having constituted an integral part of Portugal from the very outset, today the Azores are an autonomous region endowed with its own parliament and government.
History – Flores
The discovery date of the islands of Flores and Corvo is a controversial issue, although it is known that it took place after that of the other seven islands of the Azores. It is said that Flores was sighted in 1452 by Diogo de Teive and his son. Initially called So Toms or Santa Iria, its name was soon changed to Flores, literally, “Flowers” on account of the abundance of wild flowers that covered the whole island, the seeds of which were possibly brought from Florida, in North America, on the feathers of migratory birds.
The initial settlement is attributed to the Fleming, Wilhelm van der Haegen (Guilherme da Silveira, as he was known to the Portuguese), who left it after a few years and settled on the island of So Jorge. This was no doubt due to the remoteness of Flores and the lack of regular shipping connections that would allow the export to Flanders of the dye-yielding plant called woad. He was followed in the 16th century by farmers from various regions of Continental Portugal who began to plough fields and produce wheat, barley, maize, vegetables, archil (a lichen used in dyeing) and woad. During that period the settlements of Lajes and Santa Cruz received town charters. Far removed from the other islands of the archipelago, with few export products, the island of Flores was almost completely isolated for centuries, a situation broken by rare visits of ships that took on water and bought provisions there. Also cargo boats from Faial and Terceira which came to fetch sperm whale oil, honey, cedar wood, butter, lemons, oranges, smoked meats and, at times, ceramics from the local potteries and, in exchange, left woollen and linen clothes and other goods.
This isolation did not prevent the island from the sacking by an English fleet in 1587, nor did it prevent other pirates from attacking and pillaging it, including one who, according to tradition, took refuge in the Enxarus grotto.American whaling ships frequented the waters of the Azores from the middle of the 18th century to the end of the 19th. They hunted the sperm whale and recruited sailors and harpooners from among the population. Many of these recruits later became the captains of sailing vessels, outstanding of which was the “Wanderer” which sailed until 1924 and was considered the most beautiful American whaler. The development of agriculture and stockbreeding, improvement of the port facilities, construction of an airport and the presence of a French satellite tracking station, are recent events that have opened new horizons for progress on the island.