Planning for an activation of NA-193 began almost a year ago. Herschel was the only island in the Yukon Territory Group and it had been activated three times before. Despite the activity, demand for the group had increased over time and this year it landed back on the official IOTA "Most Wanted" list. Herschel Island is a bit far from here so I began studying the coastline with Google Earth and the official Canadian government mapping data. I quickly found Tent Island which was just a few kilometres inside the Yukon border and only 130 kilometres (by air) from home!
Gerry, VE8GER, has a 19' boat and our original plan was for a summer trip to the island during the IOTA contest in July. Gerry happened to make a trip up that way last summer and reported that in addition to very shallow water the area was inhabited by thick swarms of ferocious mosquitoes! We quickly decided that a snowmobile trip in the spring would be a far better idea and began to make plans accordingly. As spring drew nearer, however, we just couldn't fit a trip into our schedules and had to come up with a third option. We would go by boat in early June when the water levels would be highest and the mosquitoes would (hopefully) not be out yet.
It was a hot, sunny day when we set sail for Tent Island. We spent the afternoon packing the equipment and loading the boat and by 5pm we were underway for what was expected to be a four hour cruise. The route to Tent Island took us down the Mackenzie River through a 120km long maze of channels in the river delta followed by a 35km stretch across the aptly-named Shallow Bay on the Arctic Ocean.
Setting up camp under the midnight sun at Tent Island, Yukon.
|Yagi all dried out, stood up, and ready to get on the air!|
|Making our own propagation via amateur radio satellite.|
VE8GER running his first pileup and doing a damn fine job!