Tell your story…Cezar Trifu, VE3LYC

Cezar Trifu operating VY0O on Gilmour Is. (NA-230) in the Canadian Arctic

ZL9A from Antipodes Is., OC-286 New

Cezar Trifu

My name is Cezar Trifu, and my callsign is VE3LYC, where ‘VE’ stands for Canada, ‘3’ for Ontario and ‘LYC’ completes my unique identifier, similar to a car plate number. I have a PhD in Seismology and I’m a specialist in man-induced seismicity, working for 23 years with ESG Solutions in Canada. I am also an Adjunct-Assistant Professor at Queens University and have been on the editorial board of the Bulletin of Seismological Society of America for the past 15 years.

The Radio Society of Great Britain’s Islands On The Air (IOTA) Program divided all open sea islands of the world in 1200 groups, according to specific criteria ( More than 10,000 amateurs around the world try to establish contacts with stations operating from various islands. Meanwhile, there are 77 island groups still awaiting their first amateur radio operation. The management of the IOTA Program will soon be in care of the IOTA Foundation, whose scope is the advancement of education through training of radio amateurs worldwide in telecommunications, able to operate portable stations particularly in remote and uninhabited islands, where in emergency situations the knowledge of antennas and basic radio equipment is all-important in the saving of lives. Additionally, the IOTA Foundation promotes the advancement of human understanding of radio propagation, the training of young in skills ranging from advanced telecommunications, potentially useful in a career choice, through to all forms of outside physical endeavour up to and including life support, often practised in the company of multi-national teams.

VY0V camp on East Pen Is. (NA-231), Nunavut, under heavy snow.

In order to operate from distant and remote islands, very difficult and/or expensive to reach, radio amateurs had sometimes piggy-backed on various government or research projects to achieve their goals. However, this is not always possible. As such, fully dedicated expeditions have been mounted from time to time to bring those distant spots of our planet a little close to thousands of radio amateurs. These include the operations from New IOTA groups whose camps are shown in the photos attached, spanning throughout the world, from the Canadian Arctic (VY0O, Gilmour Is., September 2009, and VY0V, East Pen Is., March 2010), to the southern tip of South America (CE/VE3LYC and CE9/PA3EXX, Gonzalo Is., January 2011), and Western Australia (VK6ISL, Sandy Islet, September 2014). Given the considerable financial cost associated with such operations, it makes sense that the radio amateur community and various research and government organizations interested in carrying out projects on the respective islands pull their resources together and establish partnerships.

CE9 camp on Gonzalo Is. (SA-097), Diego Ramirez Archipelago (with Johan/ PA3EXX).

VK6ISL on Sandy Islet (OC-294), Scott Reef (with Craig/VK5CE, Johan/PA3EXX, and Bob/KD1CT)

VK6ISL on Sandy Islet (OC-294), Scott Reef (with
Craig/VK5CE, Johan/PA3EXX, and Bob/KD1CT)

Antipodes Islands form an independent IOTA group, denoted as OC-286. Besides its location in Sub-Antarctic waters and its isolation, the radio paths to western EU are over the poles, rendering two-way radio communication in high-frequency bands difficult. I was long interested in an operation from the Antipodes, particularly due to these challenges, but I was also aware of the strict regulations governing entry to the New Zealand’s Sub-Antarctic islands. A few months ago I became aware of the fact that the Department of Conservation (DoC) may not be able to carry out a critical preliminary trip to Antipodes in early 2016, essential for a successful execution of their major mouse eradication campaign scheduled for May 2016. This is when, together with three friends from Australia (Craig, VK5CE), Poland (Stan, SQ8X), and the United States (Bob, KD1CT), I offered our assistance in ensuring free transportation to their crew at a time convenient to them. It was not long ago that we learned that our offer was accepted, and DoC also granted us a landing and radio operation permit from the Antipodes.

Radio ham team Antipodes 2016

Radio ham team Antipodes 2016

I would like to use this opportunity in order to thank the Board of Directors of DoC for their trust in our genuine desire to make a difference. Through us, it is the entire Amateur Radio community who is now not only aware of your MDM project, as well as other research activities on Antipodes and other Sub-Antarctic Islands, but became involved in them. Our team is truly honored and proud of the partnership with the DoC, and absolutely thrilled to collaborate with a group of extremely dedicated, top notch researchers on the wildlife of Sub-Antarctic Islands.

After exhaustive quarantine checking of our gear by DoC in Invercargill, on 3 January 2016 we’ll join the DoC team sailing to Antipodes on the 82 ft yacht Evohe, and if the sea conditions permit land there on January 6. Radio operations will start later the same day and continue until January 10, when we are scheduled to return to Dunedin.

During our stay on Antipodes we will use the special callsign ZL9A. We will operate two stations around the clock, using both Phone (SSB) and Morse Code (CW) modes, on all seven bands from 10 to 40m. Our team is experienced in running very small footprint stations, adequate for this project. Nevertheless, our goal is to log 10,000 contacts with 5,000 different stations from 100 DXCC entities on all continents. More details about this project can be found on the expedition website at A special card to confirm the radio contacts will be designed and printed after the operation, which will further publicise DoC’s MDM project and other wildlife research activities in the Sub-Antarctic islands.