Aves Island, the lonelist place in the Caribbean Sea
Spanish for Bird Island, this remote tiny Caribbean island lies west of the Leeward Islands chain 70 miles west of Dominica and 115 miles southwest of Montserrat. Only 375 meters long and 10 meters wide at the narrowest point, it rises only four meters above sea level. Because of this navigational danger, several ships have wrecked nearby.
The island is a heaven for birds and green sea turtles, but is in substantial danger from erosion caused by rising sea levels. During some hurricanes, the island is completely submerged.Aves Island, the lonelist place in the Caribbean Sea
The great achievements by the human being always start with a dream. And the Aves Island Expedition 2006 was no exception. Our Association patiently waited for fourteen years to see itself again on that unique place of the Caribbean. We annually trained activating the different Venezuelan IOTA islands to celebrate our Navy Day and participated in important international constests in the multioperator – multitransmitter category. Finally, the desired opportunity arrived. To all DXer, his dream is to participate in an expedition to a DXCC country. A group of valuable Venezuelan and foreign amateurs was conformed so that in the modes of phone, CW, digital and satellite, would fill the Hertzian waves during the two weeks we would be in the island.
With enthusiasm, each of the operators prepared himself to become part of the team. Planning was polished monthly, weekly and daily, as the final day of departure got closer. A good operation from Aves Island would be the best gift we could offer to the DX community.
On April 18, 2006 at 12 pm, we left the port of La Guaira, on board “Admiral Brion” (F-22) frigate of the Venezuelan navy and, after thirty sailing hours, on April 20 at 6 am, we arrived in front of this tiny DXCC country.
On April 20 at 6 am, we arrived in front of this tiny DXCC country. The operators were airlifted by helicopter and the equipment, by zodiacs, to the island.
The Simon Bolivar Scientific Naval Base would be our center of operations. Soon, the first two stations were set up: one for 20 meter phone and another, for 15 meter CW. The Aves Island DXpedition 2006 – YXØA was on its way.
A day of great physical strain and exhaustion but, with maximum enthusiasm to install antennas, stations and the CW tent.
Aves: One of the shacks and part of the rig and operation.
Map of The Caribbean Sea and Aves Island (W of Island Guadeloupe).
Location of Aves Island Latitude 15° 41' 59.00" N, Longitude 63° 37' 18.80" W (W of Guadeloupe) Loc.: FK85EQ, Continent: North America CQ-ZONE: 8, DXCC: YVØ, IOTA: NA -020, ITU: Zone 11 WLOTA (LightHouse): WLOTA Ø216
Later the unexpected. Our digital and 80 meter phone teammate, Jose Valdes Rodriguez YV5LIX passed away with a severe heart attack, in spite of the efforts of our physician’s hams.
The frigate returned and his remains were returned to Caracas.
Sorrow and impotence were placed aside by the solidarity for our fallen teammate and in his honor and with the authorization by the officers of the National Telecommunications Commission present on the expedition, the transmissions were reinitiated with the callsign YXØLIX.