NEWINGTON, CT, Nov 28, 2006 -- The first of two planned DXpeditions to rare Lakshadweep Islands (VU7) is set to start December 1. A team sponsored by the Amateur Radio Society of India (ARSI) -- the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) member-society for India -- plans to operate as VU7LD from Kavaratti Island. Meanwhile, a second announced foray to the second most-wanted DXCC entity has returned to its original plans to commence in mid-January instead of December, thus avoiding the potential for on-air chaos. ARSI says it has permission from India's telecommunication and military authorities to operate from December 1 until December 30.
"The plans for this expedition are well under way, and we are assembling together around 25 Indian radio operators who have a proven record of operating in 'pile up' conditions on all modes, so that the poor propagation conditions are utilized to the maximum," the DXpedition's Web site reports. ARSI says VU7LD -- the actual call sign could change -- will operate on all HF bands on CW, SSB and digital modes.
A DXpedition under the auspices of the National Institute for Amateur Radio (NIAR), will kick off with a three-day hamfest January 15, and the DXpedition will continue for approximately 10 days. The NIAR DXpedition plans to operate as VU7RG, in honor of the late Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, VU2RG.
"We are pleased to inform that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Department of Telecommunications, WPC wing has released the first list of special permission issued to foreign hams holding Indian Amateur Radio licenses to operate Amateur Radio stations from Bangaram, Kadmat and Agathi in Lakshadweep Islands," Rama Mohan, VU2MYH, said in a November 22 statement on the VU7RG Web site. "Until today a total of 33 DX hams have been officially approved for the VU7RG operation!" The NIAR operation could include as many as 50 radio amateurs from India and elsewhere.
NIAR says the "well-known, experienced operators" staffing all three operating sites will "work closely together to avoid multiple stations on the air using overlapping frequencies."
Concerns arose within the DX community in October after NIAR rescheduled its event from January to December, and it appeared the two DXpeditions would have multiple stations on the air simultaneously on various HF bands and modes at least during the first part of the month. NIAR organized and sponsored a DXpedition and hamfest-conference in the Andaman Islands (VU4) earlier this year.
Part of the Laccadive Islands, Lakshadweep -- the smallest union territory of India -- is located in the Arabian Sea some 200 to 300 km off the southwestern coast of India. The territory marks its 50th anniversary this year.