Winter 2009 Issue

2008 Sable Island
VHF DXpedition

A special CY 2x1 call, rare 6-meter grid square FN93, separate DXCC status . . . together equal big pile-ups! Here VE3IKV tells how he and his partners Dick Hanson, K5AND, and Chris Patterson, W3CMP, tallied more than 4000 VHF QSOs in late June and early July 2008.

By Pete Csanky,* VE3IKV


Photo 1. QSL card for the 2008 CYX Sable Island DXpedition. (Photos courtesy of the author)

After our great VFX summer 2007 6-meter arctic DXpedition to Nunavut Territory (VY), Bill, W4TAA, and I were talking about where to go in the summer of 2008. Hopefully, it would be to a location where we could work some Europeans on 6 meters, since up at VFX we were too close to the north geomagnetic pole and never heard any EU signals or encountered videos on 50 MHz. We received quite a few suggestions to go to CY, Sable Island, which counts as a separate DXCC entity and was last activated during the summer sporadic-E season by Mike, VE9AA, and company back in 1996.

After making a few phone calls and e-mail inquiries, I found out that the main factor in getting CY on the air is the charter aircraft expense$10,000 to get only 1400 pounds of combined operator, equipment, antennas, and food from Halifax to Sable and back to Halifax. Because it was a DXpedition focused on 6-meter operation, we never got much response from the usual HF DXpedition sponsors, so it looked like we would have to split the air charter costs. Adding in the Sable bunkhouse accommodation fees of $150 each per night, we were looking at around $10K each for the trip. Ouch!

While Bill and I were mulling over the costs, Dick, K5AND, and Chris, W3CMP, expressed their interest in joining us, and with the combined team, turning it into a major 6-meter DXpedition for the summer 2008 sporadic-E season.

Planning and Logistics

Thus, in September 2007 we started the lengthy planning necessary to secure landing permits from the Canadian Coast Guard and the Sable Island Officer-in-Charge, Gerry Forbes. We also applied for and received the special callsigns CYX and CYRA for the DXpedition. Adrian, EA5/GKOM, kindly offered to sponsor the design and hosting of a website for us ( so that we could keep the 6-meter DX gang informed of our plans and progress.

At this time Bill, W4TAA, reluctantly had to pull out of the CYX DXpedition plans due to business commitments, leaving Dick, Chris, and me to finalize the details. By spring 2008, it was apparent that after weighing each and every item that we were planning to bring to Sable, we were going to be over the allowed weight limit for the flight to the island.

Click here to return to Winter 2009 highlights

Click here to subscribe to VHF


Copyright 2009, CQ Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced or republished, including posting to a website, in part or in whole, by any means, without the express written permission of the publisher, CQ Communications, Inc. Hyperlinks to this page are permitted.