Dave EI3IO and Manju S21AM operated from NL52JE - Kulsum Bag, Charfasson, Char Dakhin Shahbazpur (Bhola Island) AS-140 (eighth most wanted IOTA reference in Asia), from the 4 - 7 February 2005.
Bhola Island is located in the Bay of Bengal in southern Bangladesh within the Meghna River delta and the Shahbazpur Channel; an area of 3403.48 sq km. The main occupations are agriculture related 67% and fishing 5%. The main crops are paddy, wheat, chilli, pulses, peanut and betel nut.
Whilst planning the DXpedition at the end of last year the devastating earthquake and Tsunami hit the region. The death toll from this disaster now exceeds 270,000 persons. Bhola island has also suffered in recent history. On 13 November 1970 the Bhola cyclone and tidal wave occurred. The casualties on Bhola island alone may have exceeded 100,000 with the town of Charfasson from where we operated being completely devastated. With this poignant memory together with the horrific scenes of today’s disaster, we felt it right to raise money for the region hit by the earthquake and Tsunami; we are especially looking to support one of the island communities in the region.
This is why in the published QSL information we asked everyone to send a minimum of US$2, with their direct QSL cards. This would have permitted us to provide a minimum of US$1 per QSL, to support victims of the disaster. The results were both gratifying and disappointing. From direct QSL requests received from over 300 stations, we are able to donate EUR 265. See the receipt from the Bangladesh Red Crescent. However many stations sent IRCs, sometimes only 1, and many operators sent only US$ 1.
One year on, the majority of direct QSLs will now have been received. Some operators have donated as much as US$15; many thanks to all those who actively supported our efforts. To those who have not yet sent their direct cards, or those that did not read the original QSL information and did not send an extra $1 and to those that intend to use the bureau or Logbook of the World, we simply ask that you donate at least US$1 to a local charity supporting Tsunami victims.
Turning then to the DXpedition itself. After arrival at Bhola town early 4 February, a 2 hour drive took us to the S21BI QTH, the headquarters of Coast Trust on Bhola Island. More time was expended on antennas than expected, however we were QRV at 12.10 UTC, on schedule prior to local sunset. Final QRT was at 09.46 UTC, 7 February with ON5NT the last station in the log. We arrived back in Dhaka early 8 February. CW and SSB were used, however only one station at a time could be operated because of EMC difficulties. We were also plagued by electrical power problems. The mains supply was noisy, failed often and the reserve generator on-site was even noisier, nevertheless some good QSOs with Europe on 160m were made. Manju S21AM operated on SSB and Dave EI3IO operated CW and SSB. We made good use of the 30-metre communications tower on-site and half slopers were successfully used on 160, 80 and 40m. Dipoles were used on 30m, 20m, 17m and 15m. The QSL route is via EI3IO. An on-line log is available and the dxpedition log has been uploaded to LoTW and eQSL. Corrections to the original log have also been uploaded. The IOTA secretariat has validated the operation, as has the ARRL for LoTW purposes.
S21BI QSL information via EI3IO
Thanks must go to S21K for providing us with fantastic facilities at Coast Trust. Also the staff and visitors made us feel really welcome. The BTRC were extremely helpful with providing a suitable licence, our thanks to the Bangladesh regulatory body. We used the EI5DI logging program which is easy to use and free! Visit the site here. The ADI files from logging were exported and combined in EA6VQ’s LogVQ, which was used to print the labels for QSL cards. LogVQ also provided the statistical information.
Lastly some administrative information. Our licence can be viewed here; our launch ticket from Bhola back to Dhaka can be found here.
PLEASE ALSO NOTE - EI3IO IS NOT THE QSL MANAGER FOR ANY OTHER S21 STATION