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Bruce A Sperka

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Kia Orana (Hello), The south pacific paradise known as Rarotonga, in the South Cook Islands, is a quick 10 hour direct flight from LAX, via Air New Zealand. After dropping our bags off at the Edgewater Resort we enjoyed a ride around the island and were introduced to some locals enjoying an adult beverage. I had a Matutu Lager, brewed locally on the island.

Edgewater Resort

Be one of the cool kids and be sure to get your official E51 Government of the Cook Islands call sign and HF amateur radio operating license from Blue Sky for $20NZD. No test required, just a copy of your FCC license. Even Techs can operate all bands and modes!

The monthly Ham Lunch was well attended with several lively discussions and the self-service food was delicious.

Cook's Corner monthly ham lunch

Left to right: Doug E51DLD/W6HB, Milan E51DWC/OK1DWC, Bob KK6EK, Bruce E51BAS/AD7MM, Marilyn E51MAS/KI7DLK, Bob's friend, Jim E51JD, and Andy E51AND

I couldn't resist a shoutout to Payson, Arizona my Home QTH.

Destinations and distances from Rarotonga

My two surprising QSO's:

1) After checking out the spotting cluster on DXwatch, I noticed an unusual CQ spot from FR5EC on Reunion Island off the East coast of Madagascar requesting a Long Path QSO on 20 meters. I called out to Jean-Claude, FR5EC, and to my surprise he responded!

FR5EC Reunion Island spot and QSO

2) A maritime mobile call from Larry, AC4GG, from his sailboat the SV/Serengeti on anchor at Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands. Larry plans to visit Rarotonga in a few months. Thanks for the QSO Larry.


Here's a snapshot of Andy's rig that we were privileged to operate: an Icom IC-756PRO with an Ameritron AL-1200 amplifier running 1400 watts. Atop his 70 foot tower was mounted a KLM 205-M 5 element yagi for 20 meters and a Tennadyne T7 log periodic for 17-10 meters. I was able to log over 500 DX QSO's and my wife Marilyn, E51MAS logged her first 14 DX QSO's.

Andy and Doug let me warm up to DXing from the other side by pointing the beam toward the more polite pileups from North America and Japan before unleashing the Europeans on me. WOW what a cacophony. At times, I was the only station being spotted on 20 meters. I have recorded an audio for your listening enjoyment.

The lagoon surrounding the island offers a unique underwater Post Office for sending postcards back to friends and family.

Underwater Post Office Box

Anyone not living on the west coast of somewhere is missing out on sunsets and Rarotonga's sunsets are spectacular.

On Wednesday evening May 10, we gathered at the Tamarind restaurant to welcome Cesar, E51LYC/VE3LYC to the island, Cesar was headed for the Pukapuka Atoll in the North Cook Islands the next morning to operate his own DXpedition.

Left side: Kat E51CK, Jim E51JD, Cesar E51LYC/VE3LYC, Milan E51DWC/OK1DWC
Right side: Andy E51AND, Doug E51DLD/W6HB, Bruce E51BAS/AD7MM, photographer Marilyn E51MAS/KI7DLK

For those in shape for a workout, don't miss Pa's Cross Island Trek to see "The Needle" up close while traversing the island North to South. It's a rigorous hike climbing on and between tree roots. The hike ends at Wigmore's waterfall where you can cool off those tired leg muscles.

The Needle - Rarotonga

Cross Island Trek

Wigmore's Waterfall

Rarotonga is an amazing island to visit whether you operate DX or just want to kick back and enjoy a holiday away from your normal life.

Lagoon snorkeling surrounding Rarotonga

I was on Rarotonga from April 30, 2017 through May 12, 2017 operating mostly vacation style with Doug W6HB/E51DLD, QSL rules as stated below apply.....

QSL card requests from USA stations can be sent to my US address with a minimum of a self-sealing, self-addressed stamped envelope.

QSL card requests from stations outside the USA can be sent to my US address with a self-sealing, self-addressed envelope and $2/USD (no IRC's will be accepted).

Electronic QSL confirmations will be posted to LOTW, and

73, Bruce AD7MM/E51BAS


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