Tromelin 2014

60th anniversaryMarc FB8BK was the first person to activate Tromelin Back in 1954. He was working for the weather services.

A difficult accessNo harbour nor landing in complete safety on beach. The access to the Island is possible by using the 1km runway maintained by the TAAF staff. It’s by the airs that’s we will reach Tromelin.

Protected territoryThe animals present on the island are primarily hermit-crabs, some marine birds and of course the green turtles which finds on the beautiful beaches of Tromelin a peaceful place to lay.

Tromelin – November 2014Most of the DXers consider entities as check boxes to tick once the country is worked and confirmed. That’s the game! However, we hope to bring you a lot more than just a simple check mark as you discover our next destination.

Let’s talk about the 9th most wanted DXCC entity according to the Clublog statistics, an empty box for 75% of the amateur radio community.

Tromelin, as well as Glorioso, Juan de Nova, Europa, belongs to the Eparses, a French word to name these small islands scattered around Madagascar. These French territories are administered by the TAAF. Their access is strictly controlled and regulated in particular for ecological reasons. Tromelin is the smallest one (1 square km) and the human impact is all the more sensitive. That’s the only island where there are no French military troops and only 3 agents of the TAAF are posted there continuously.

The last operation took place in 2000. A 4 men team made 50,000 contacts with the callsign FR/F6KDF/T. No authorization has been given ever since.

2014 will be the 60th anniversary of the 1st hamradio activity from Tromelin. The operator was Marc FB8BK/T. Today, after some successful collaborative work with the TAAF authorities, we are proud to announce that we received our landing permission and got the green light to conduct an amateur radio operation on this remote island. We’ll be active on Tromelin from October 30th to November 10th, 2014.

6 operators have been allowed to stay of the island. They have been selected for their experience and all six are ready to face the challenge. The team is made up of Seb F5UFX, Michel FM5CD, flo F5CWU, Eric F5SIH, Franck F4AJQ, Fred F5ROP.

The request is huge and we are conscious of this. For this reason, we are working hard in order to prepare our operation in depth. Some places in the world will have short openings and we’ll do our best to exploit these short moments with proper planning adjusted with the help of pilots. The coming months will be devoted to the search of sponsors. We already have part of the equipment but partnership with equipment suppliers will be essential. On the other hand, we will contact foundations, clubs, organizations to request assistance to help us balance our budget, estimated at $90,000, most of which is devoted to logistic costs.

We will regularly keep updating you until our departure.

The island

Tromelin is a French island in the Indian Ocean, administered as a French Southern and Antarctic Lands (Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises in French aka TAAF).

Like the other islands belonging to the « Eparses » Islands in the Indian Ocean (Bassas Da India, Glorioso, Juan de Nova, Europa) Tromelin has been part of the fifth district of the TAAF since 2007.

Located 450 km east of Madagascar, the island is the emerged top of a submarine volcano or a raised coral atoll; scientists don’t agree on its origin. Its highest point culminates at 7m ASL.

A corral barrier quite dangerous for navigation, making sea access extremely difficult even with good weather, surrounds it. 
There is no harbor and only anchorage off the island is possible. An airfield that was completed June 20, 1954 and a 1,050m runway made of sand give access to the island.

Starting on May 7, 1954, the island has had its own weather station staffed by meteorologists. Wind observations are made with radiotheodolite and are used to detect cyclones in this area of the Indian Ocean.

The island is flat and the soil is sandy with numerous corral boulders. Flora is very little developed because of severe climatic conditions and is essentially composed of lush grass and shrubs. Fauna, on the contrary, is very interesting with quite a few seabird and sea turtle colonies. The «Eparses » Islands were classified as nature reserves back in 1975 and have been used as “reference” witnesses for numerous scientific studies.


Each of the 4 stations that will be set up on the island will be able to communicate in the 3 different modes. Operators and stations must be versatile. Each operating position will have an amplifier and a CW/RTTY interface.

In order to maximize the configuration of the location and more specifically the proximity of the ocean we intend to use monoband vertical antennas as well as VDA that have proven to give excellent results during top DXpeditions in the last few years. They also allow for a quick setup, which is an important criterion for a team of 6 people on location for only 10 days.
160m: 26m Spiderbeam pole + hat
80m: 2x phased Spiderbeam verticals 18m high
40m: 4 square array
30m: 4 square array
20m: 2-elements Vertical Dipole Array
17m: 2-elements Vertical Dipole Array
15m: 2-elements Vertical Dipole Array
12m: 2-elements Vertical Dipole Array
10m: 2-elements Vertical Dipole Array
RX: 4square RX, beverages, splitter, filters

We will have several electrical generators with us as well as gas so that we can be autonomous.

Our goals
An opportunity to take Tromelin off the top 10 list

Tromelin is listed as #10 in the DX Magazine’s most wanted survey and #9 according to ClubLog. Tromelin is one of the least active DXCC countries and is needed by over 75% of the people who participated in the polls.

The last activity goes back to 2000 when the FR/F6KDF/T team made 50,000 QSO. There has not been any land permission given in the last 14 years. Permission for 6 people delivered by the ruling authority to access and to stay on the island between October 30th and November 10th , 2014 was obtained last September. This is an opportunity to take Tromelin off the top 10 list.

We truly understand what is at stake with an activity like this and the interest it generates. We have been working for the last several months on the logistics and we are in the process of gathering all the equipment that will be shipped to Reunion island before we bring it with us to Tromelin.

As you know operations from isolated islands are expensive adventures. To go to Tromelin we have to charter a plane that is approved by the authorities to fly the team and the equipment. This is the largest item of expenditure. Except for military airplanes only small aircraft can land on the runway which implies that several rotations between Reunion and Tromelin will be needed, be they on the way in or the way out.

Statistics speak for themselves. Whatever the continent, Tromelin is a DXCC entity that is very rare and that several thousand DXers throughout the world would love to work.

We will be active from 160 to 10m in CW/SSB and RTTY. Openings towards the USA and Japan are short. We will do our utmost to give this entity to worldwide deserving hams while openings last.

We will take into consideration the information that our pilot stations will give us to make Tromelin sure that propagation conditions and feedback from the ham radio community are utilized in the best way.

Let’s talk about budget

Because it is important that we keep logistic costs under control we have made a list of equipment that have to meet three main criteria: weight, performance and reliability.

Thanks to the invaluable help of several commercial sponsors we hope to be able to limit our expenditure without falling short on the efficacy and the quality of our signals. The equipment graciously lent by our sponsors will add to our personal equipment that we bring.