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US Islands W/VE QSO Party 2006

Jay F. Chamberlain (AE4MK) on October 1, 2006
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W/VE Island QSO Party, Oct. 21 + 22, 2006

US Islands Award Program alive and well.

The US Islands Award Program (USI) was started in summer of 1994 by John KL7JR (former NL7TB) as another form of Island collecting much like the international program IOTA (Islands On The Air). John had discovered IOTA and wondered why the US didn't have a similar award. He stepped up to the plate and with the help and advice of friends and fellow island hunters he started USI and became the first Program Manager.

The USI has had its share of growing pains over the years like many awards, but has continued to be a viable awards program run on the honor system. One big plus is the fact the program is fun for both the hunter and the activator. Not everyone can carve out months of time and thousands of dollars to travel to some remote Pacific atoll to play radio. Activating your local lake, river or shore island is possible to almost anyone. Mobile, portable on foot, wading, canoe; these are just a few of the methods I have used to operate from US Islands.

I jumped into USI with both antennas in May of 1996 just after I became a General and was immediately hooked. Activating DC001R, Columbia Island in the Potomac River, Washington, DC, on a weekday afternoon, I made 133 QSOs on 20 meter. I was using a 16 foot home brewed vertical and my TS-50. I am limited to inside the attic wire dipoles at home so being on the receiving end of my first pile-up was an unforgettable experience. I worked at least 4 new DX countries that day and knew, for me, USI was here to stay.

Ten years later I have qualified or activated 73 US Islands, stacking up 3750 QSOs. 32 of these islands were first time qualifications. The others were activations of already qualified islands. Many were operated during our yearly US Islands W/VE QSO party as an island rover. How many times can you be canoe portable, barefoot and expect to snag Diego Garcia, VQ9. This happen to me on Goat Island, King George, VA on a beautiful August evening in 1999. I was canoe /P in the Rappahannock River and heard the VQ9 calling me. I got him in the log and then asked where the heck was VQ9? I don't know who was more surprised, me when I heard it was Diego Garcia or him when I told him my antenna was mounted on a 16 foot aluminum canoe floating in the river.

The US Islands Award Program is alive and well with a new domain name,, new web master (Jay AE4MK) and a new qualifications manager (Ted W8TTS). Please take a minute to visit our site and get acquainted or reacquainted with another wonderful aspect of this great hobby called Amateur Radio.



Fredericksburg, VA

Web master

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