Barry Fletcher’s ham radio expeditions (dxpeditions)
Barry Fletcher’s ham radio expeditions have been to remote islands seldom visited. He has operated from his bases in both South Africa and Singapore. Recognised by the ARRL as a TOP of DX plaque holder who has achieved 340 country contacts. He self-funded each activity (named dxpeditions).
Please note that I’m retired but continue to carry on dxpeditions and live now in Cape Town as ZS1FJ. Until 2017, I lived in Singapore as 9V1FJ. My enjoyment comes from all my ham radio contacts worldwide as dxer keeps communications alive in times of emergencies, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes and civil disturbances. I now live in a retirement community but am able to operate remotely.
I was first licensed in 1972 as ZS1FJ. DXCC Honors roll/Top DXCC having worked ALL 240 countries. Also other permanent licences G4MFW, 9V1FJ and ZL1MFW. Besides being an active Dxer, I am an active dxpeditioner. In 2014, I organised and led a dxpedition to Chatham Island ZL1AAA. My other most recent dxpeditions were in 2012, where I was a member of the Swains Island NH8S dxpedition. In that same year, I organised a dxpedition to the Caribbean working 7 islands in 11 days working 128 countries.
Other dxpeditions were to Kermadec ZL8 as ZL8/G4MFW (1995) Pitcairn as VR6Ab (now VP6) (1994) Tonga A35/ZS1FJ, Fiji 3D2/ZS1FJ, Gambier Islands FO0/ZS1FJ, Jersey GJ4MFW, Liechtenstein HB0/G4MFW, United Nations stations in Geneva and New York, St Martin FS/G4MFW, St Pierre & Miquelin FP/G4MFW and Botswana A22DX with Gerald ZS1GRM.
Also on the IOTA front, to NEW unnumbered African islands namely ZS23I Seal Island SA-023, ZS26BI Bird Island SA-026, Elephant Rock ZS31ER. Other IOTA Islands included Great Barrier Island as ZL1MFW, Stewart Island ZL1MFW, etc. Since then my expedition to French Polynesia operated with Deon ZS1ZL and Phil G3SWH (expert cw!) was really successful operating Tubuai Island in the Australs as FO/G4MFW OC-152, and Mangareva in the Gambier Islands Oc-063, both rare lOTAs.
On the way to VP6, I had a brief Operation from a NEVER OPERATED before (or since) Akamuru Island, a spooky deserted island on which a mad priest, over 100 years ago, built a huge cathedral using slave labour. That cathedral we found in dense forest, covered in cobwebs with massive spiders we had never seen before, feasting on whatever for over 100 years. I fully expected Dracula to appear. I have some unused FO QSL cards re Akamuru, which I can send to those who still need the card.
Our dxpedition in 2007 to Lesotho 7P8DX and 7P8DX and 7P8/G4MFW was from the highest point (11,000 ft ) in that country.
On 9-20 May 2012 my little one-man dxpedition to the Caribbean operating PJ7.PJ5, FS, FJ, VP2E, PJ2 and PJ4 took place. Amazingly I worked 128 countries with vertical folded dipole made from 300 ohm line, on a push up German fireglass mast. I made sure I was mostly located near the beach, except on Saba Island PJ5.
In March 2014, I led a dxpedition to Chatham Island ZL7AAA. This largely two-man
Dxpedition with Sandro VE7NY but supplemented for a few days with Franz OE2SNL and Peter VE7AB resulted in 22,000 contacts over the 10 days. It was largely SSB.
Chronic pile ups!
Despite my age, I hope to do one more new dxpedition. In two years, I will, God-willing, be 90. Maybe I can make 100? My biggest regret was the aborted dxpedition to Clipperton in 2000 as a result of a request by the US team which was scheduled for a similar date as an act of ham spirit due to their team being much larger than our 6 members. I am always willing to join other dxpeditions, but I point out I am now in my 88th year! For almost 14 years, my home was 9V1, where my callsign was 9 V1FJ. I am now back as ZS1FJ.
I was fortunate enough to be included in the 2012 Swains Island dxpedition, which included great dxers and dxpeditioners far more entitled to this honour than me.
I pay tribute to my “pilots” in the past and currently, which included KA1JC (Phyllis) and SK’s AH0W and KH6FKG. Still active is my main pilot of many years ZS1AU, who is still active at 92 years of age. Also friends ZS1ZL and ZS1A who both have helped me over the years.
Above everything I love ham radio and the great ham spirit. I am also a rare stamp collector, known internationally. My XYL, Inga, my wife of 59 years, has been a star not standing in the way of all activities, including dxpeditions.
Published on qrz.com