Hector XE2K, Ray N6VR, Gerardo XE2Q, XE2TG Marco, Bernardo XE2HWB and Norm N6JV will 
operate from NA124 in early Feburary. This group as done many XE IOTA's in the past. 
They will be using the call XF1K. The group will have several stations running that 
will include a R7 vertical and an inverted V for 30,40 and 80m with a 50ft mast. The
dates will be Feb 3rd-5th.
Qsl is via Fred N6AWD.
6000 Hesketh Dr.
Bakersfiled, CA 93309
Below is a story about XF1K written by his long time qsl manger N6AWD.
XF1K

Baja California Sur – 2006

NA-124
After several successful IOTA operations off Baja California and in the Sea of Cortez 
by the XF1K team, the last group in the area that was high on the needed list and that did 
not require special logistical arrangements was the Baja California Sur State South East 
group, NA-124. This group consists of Ballena, Cerralvo, Espiritu Santo, Gallina, Gallo, 
Partida, Reina, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Cruz. In order to determine 
the best choice for activation, Hector (XE2K) and Diana (XE2DN) traveled 1000 miles in 
their pickup truck from Hector’s home in Mexicali to La Paz, Baja Sur and arrived on January 
30, 2006. The pickup had been loaded with all the antennas, generators, tents and supplies, 
and most of the transceivers. Fred (N6AWD) and Ray (N6VR) had hauled gear to Mexicali a few 
weeks before. In La Paz, they met with Bernardo (XE2HWB), a local resident, and studied the 
most suitable choices of islands and transportation. Cerralvo Island was chosen because of 
the available transportation and known beaches to operate from. Other islands that were 
close had poor landings and doubtful operating sites. Cerralvo is about 21 miles long, 5 
miles wide and very steep. There are few beaches and no population except for herds of wild 
goats. About 30 miles east of La Paz is the small fishing village of El Sargento where a 
local fisherman was hired to haul the crew and gear across to Cerralvo.
Because of the long distances to La Paz, the rest of the group decided to fly in. 
On February 1, Norm (XE2/N6JV) and Ray (XE2/N6VR) flew from Los Angeles to Hermosillo, 
Sonora where the met Marco (XE2TG) and the three flew to La Paz. Hector had made hotel 
reservations for everyone for the three nights they would be in La Paz. The following day, 
El Sargento was visited and the shopping centers of La Paz provided the required food and 
extra camping equipment. The radio gear was sorted and readied for the trip the next day.

Before dawn, the truck and Bernardo’s car transported everyone to El Sargento and the 
18 foot fiberglass fishing boat, loaded with gear and the 5 operators, was pushed into the 
water. The sea was very calm and smooth. The landing beach was near the north end of the 
island and was about 14 miles from El Sargento. The sandy beach made it easy to unload the 
gear. When everything was on the beach, the A3S tribander was erected and a temporary station 
was set up in the sand on 20 meters SSB using battery power. K9PPY was the first in the log, 
SM3CXS was the first European, UA9YE the first Asian, NH6NY was first from Oceania and EA8AKN 
the first from Africa. South America wasn’t worked until the next day when HK3JJH made the 
log. Propagation had not been good, so when Europeans were heard, as many as possible were 
logged. There was no guarantee that conditions would hold.
The beach was about 400 feet long and 75 feet deep at the widest and ending at a high 
vertical cliff. The main operating tent was placed on the northern end and the smaller tent 
that was the second CW position and sleeping tent to the south. The two 1800 watt generators 
were in the middle near some large rocks that provided some noise protection. A DX88 vertical 
with several of its radials running into the water was placed south of the CW tent for maximum 
separation. To the north of the main tent, a R7 vertical, an A3WS 17/12 meter yagi and a mast 
for low band dipoles was placed. The A3S was near the generators. An IC706, a FT847 and a 
TS450S were used in the main tent and an IC706 Mk2 was used in the CW tent. Hector, Bernardo 
and Marco kept the SSB rigs busy and Ray operated one rig on CW from the main tent. The main 
tent had the option of using AD5A’s 400 watt amplifier if needed. Norm stayed down the beach 
in the smaller tent on CW using the DX88. Computers were used for logging at all positions. 
At times all 4 rigs were on at once and one SSB and one CW rig were active at all times. The 
high cliff behind the beach shielded South America and Africa, but operating options were 
limited and the site provided a good path to Europe, North America and the Pacific.
The weather was perfect with no high winds or temperature. High waves did threaten 
the DX88 on the second day, but the sea calmed by Sunday. Only a few contacts were made 
above 17 meters due to low sun spot activity. Big pile-ups were encountered on 17 through 
75 meters with many Europeans worked. The location was especially good to Asia and many 
QRP stations went into the log. A total of 6068 QSOs were eventually made including 965 
in Europe.
BAND  SSB  CW 
10    51   0 
12    0   30 
15    47  10 
17    505  683 
20    695 1019 
30    0   517 
40    213  1567 
80    518  0 
160   22   0 
On Sunday morning the camp and antennas were taken down and the gear carried to the 
landing area. This included 2 large bags full of trash. There were still Europeans being 
heard on 20 meters, so one station remained on until the last. The boat arrived on time and 
loaded for the return trip to El Sargento. The return trip was smooth and no one got too 
wet landing the boat. Diana returned with the truck, and when everything was loaded, the 
group was invited to the QTH of Antonio (XE2HWH) and Justina in El Sargento where we were 
treated to a barbecue. As food preparation wasn’t a high priority on the island, vast 
quantities of food and drink were consumed throughout the afternoon. Much needed showers and 
shaves at the hotel made everyone feel more human. Before passing out that night, the 
computers were downloaded and extra copies of the log files were made. Early the next morning 
Bernardo drove Marco to the airport for his flight to Hermosillo and Hector took Norm and 
Ray to the airport for their flight at 2:00 pm to Los Angeles. Norm next flew to 
Sacramento and arrived at 5:30.
The XF1K team would like to thank Ing. Moises Ramirez for his assistance with the 
licensing. We would also like to thank the Island Radio Expedition Foundation (IREF) for 
their support as well as the many amateurs who made donations for this trip: 7K3EOP, AA5AT, 
AA7AV, AB6QM, AD5A, JA1EY, JA1BPA, JA1SKE, JE1DXC, JG1OWV, JG1UKW, JA2AYP/1, JE2QYZ, 
JA3BKP, JA3UCO, JE3GUG, JI3MJK, JL3CRS, JA4UQY, JH4FRP, JF4VZT, JA5IU, JI5RPT/7, JN6RZM, 
JA7BWT, JA7DHJ/1, JE7JIS, JN7VUJ, JA8MS, JA9IFF, JR0DLU/1, K1HT, K3FN, K6DT, K8NA, K8SIX, 
K9AJ, KB5RHD, KD6WW, N5ET, N5UR, N6AWD, N6IC, N6KZ, N6PYN, N6VS, VE7QCR, VE7YL, W0BBT, 
W4DKS, W5BOS, W5BXX, W5PF, W6ED, W6UC, W6YOO, WA5VGI, WB2YQH, WF1N, XE1KK and XE2WWW. 
N6AWD and JN6RZM organized this fund raising. QSLs will be printed soon, so please send 
your cards to N6AWD. We were trying to work everyone who needed NA-124 and hope we were 
successful.
The Baja California Mexico Island Project
In April 2002 at the Visalia DX Convention I met Hector XE2K whose call sign 
then was XE2DN who became interested in activating   at least  one of the  rare 
islands in Baja California, many of which had not been heard from in over 10 years .  
Hector was introduced to me by Phil W6UC and we sat down and began to envision how 
seven rare island groups could be put on the air.  Hector went back home to Mexicali 
and began rounding up some of his ham friends to put on the first of these rare islands.
In June of 2002 XF1DN was activated by Hector along with XE2FRC and XE2CHE from 
the island of Angel de La Guarda and produced over 2000 contact in a little over 2 days.  
After this operation it became apparent that there was a lot of interest by the IOTA 
community judging by the number of QSL cards have been requested for NA-163.  It did not 
take long before plans were made for another rare Mexican island activation and this 
came to pass in early 2003.
El Pelicano, NA167
After some research Hector discovered that NA-167 is close to his home and found 
out at El Pelicano island falls into the state of Sonora plans were made to get it 
on the air.  The call sign XF1K and the Permit form the environmental agency on charge of 
the island was issued  to the group whose member now had XE2ZY along with N6VR who operated 
mostly CW. The goal was to set up three stations and four antennas to make 3000 contacts.
The rigs were two ICOM 706 MKIIs and a TS440S. N6VR was able to bring an all band filter box 
that enabled us to operate both SSB and CW on the same bands. Each of the antennas had 170 ft of 
coax, so we were able to separate the antenna by 300 ft to help reduce interference. For 75/80m we 
installed a simple inverted vee at 45ft. The SSB station had an A3 tribander at 30ft and the CW 
station used a Cushcraft R7 vertical at 10 feet. The fourth antenna, a GAP challenger was not erected
On the day of the operation we met at Hector’s home, carefully packed our equipment and left for 
the small fishing village of El Golfo de Santa Clara about 200km away. Transportation to the island 
was from a small open air fishing boat measuring 7 meters by 2 meters. The trip to the island went 
fast, only 30 minutes. The most difficult part of the trip was the unloading and later the loading 
of the transport boat. We arrived on the island at sunset, but about 100 meters from the hard sand. 
The boat was stuck in the mud so this meant that we had to carry our equipment over this very soft 
tidal mud. Depending on where you stepped, each step was either ankle or knee deep in mud. It took 
one full hour to unload all our equipment. By the time we finished unloading the boat, the tide had 
retreated 200 meters, the boat could not move! The boat crew stayed the night on the island. Setup 
of the tents and antennas took about one hour in full dark. We were able to start on the air within 
90 minutes of arriving on the island.
Over the next two days, we were able to keep two stations on the air, and sometimes three. During 
the first night, XE2ZY was on 80m SSB, XE2K was on 20 meter SSB and N6VR operated 20m and 40m CW. We 
were able to work several Europeans on 20/40m that night, but had only a short opening. From about 
0700z we were only able to work North/South America, Pacific and Asia. At sunrise, we would to move 
first 20m, then 17m, 15m 12m or 10m depending on propagation. Around 2100z, condx would become slow, 
so we would either work stateside or rest. About 2300z, we could easily run Asia on 10, 12,15, 17 & 20m.
We were very amazed how all the antennas performed in that muddy island. We managed to work 
several Europeans on 40 and 75m SSB with just 100 watts power! The beam was able to easily run Europe 
and Asia. N6VR, the CW operator did well with the R7, but did notice that the signals on the beam to 
Europe were 1 to 2 ‘S’ units stronger. In the end, the SSB operators made 4000 contacts and CW made 
2000 contacts. We were pleased!
The weather during the operation was very cold for us. On the first morning, the temperature 
was 4 degree C. The operating tent was a large open screen tent that allowed the wind to easily enter. 
Luckily, Hector had thought of this and brought a tarp to hang over half of the tent to provide some 
windbreak. The next two mornings were not as cold, 6 degrees. We chose this time of year to operate 
because of the weather. During the summer, the temperature can easily be 45 degrees C with humidity 
of 95 percent! 
Leaving the island was the most difficult part of the trip. The tide was very low so the boat 
was stuck in the mud 800m away from our site. Fortunately, the Captain brought additional help so we 
had to make only one trip to the boat. It still took more than one hour to get all the gear and 
equipment into the boat. As before, the tide had retreated and the boat stuck in the mud 100m from 
the water! We did not want to wait 3 more days for the tide to return so we pushed the boat across 
the mud to the ocean. This took almost 45 minutes.
The most unusual thing I discovered about Isla Pelicano is the mud and tides. During extreme 
tides, there may be only a little of the island exposed, 100m by 300m. During the low tides, 
while we were there, the island was perhaps 1km by 3km in size. No one lives on the island and there 
are no buildings or structures. Only on the highest points of the island does some short grass grow. 
The main activity on the island is clam digging. We crazy IOTA operators are the only other people 
that would want to be there!
The most unusual thing I discovered about Isla Pelicano is the mud and tides. During extreme 
tides, there may be only a little of the island exposed, 100m by 300m. During the low tides, while 
we were there, the island was perhaps 1km by 3km in size. No one lives on the island and there are 
no buildings or structures. Only on the highest points of the island does some short grass grow. 
The main activity on the island is clam digging. We crazy IOTA operators are the only other people 
that would want to be there!
The NA-167 activation produced over 6000 contacts in less than 3 days. Propagation was good for us.
Todos Santos – NA162
It was not long before the XF1K group was talking about the next operation and Hector selected 
to go to Ensenada and scout out the logistics of activating NA-162.  From shore one can see two 
islands about 10 miles off shore named Todos Santos.  This then became the next target and it was 
heard from in September 2003.  This time the group was made up of XE2K Hector, XE2ZY, XE2ED, N6VR, 
N6KZ and XE1NTT / N6AN.  

 

The Todos Santos islands are made of two islands (Isla Norte and Isla Sur) about 20 km (12 miles) 
west of Ensenada, which is about 80 miles south of the US-Mexico border. The highest elevation is 
approximately 200 meters. Isla Norte is mostly flat, with a radio tower and 
two lighthouses, one active, the other inactive.  Both islands are nesting grounds for brown pelicans, 
cormorants, blue herons, ospreys, and various other sea bird species. Both islands are rocky, barren, 
treeless desert islands. South Island has more hills, with few level and clear locations to set up stations.
For this operation, Hector, XE2K, requested the call sign XF1K, same callsign as his previous 
NA167 operation. The team would be made up of six operators, three from Mexico and three from the 
United States. This would be a large enough team to physically set up antennas in the difficult island 
terrain, operate the multiple HF/VHF/Satellite stations and to work a large number US, JA, and EU stations.

 

After spending the night in Ensenada, we awoke early in the morning. We drove the short distance to 
the quiet, dark Ensenada harbor to load our gear onto the ship Juanitos, a 32-foot charter fishing 
boat.  It sure is surprising how much gear six hams can pack. In fact, we had to negotiate a larger 
boat for the gear, and us doubling the cost of the transportation to and from the Island. With the 
rising sun just peaking over the eastern Mexican Mountains, we slowly sailed out of the harbor into 
gently rolling seas, on to the Todos Santos Islands.

 

After a trip of about 1 hour we arrived at Isla Sur (Southern Island) at a commercial fish camp 
(ranch house). This would be our home and operating area for the next four days.  Hector, XE2K had 
previously contacted the owner-operators of this camp, explaining our purpose and requested access 
to stay in their main camp.  Permission was granted so we actually had beds to sleep in and a kitchen 
to use. Upon arrival we unloaded the Juanitos and moved our large amount of equipment, food and fresh 
water up the 75-foot ramp to the fish camp’s main area.  The WX was warm, about 30 degrees C, humidity 
about 90 percent, so we were totally soaked and exhausted after that.

 

We next had to carry about half the gear up another 150m dirt path at 50m height to set up the primary 
location in order to have a better path to JA and Oceania which were blocked at the ranch house location. 
We had a clear ocean path east for NA and EU! The second operating position was set-up at the ranch house, 
with the GAP vertical just a few meters above the ocean with a clear shot from north, east to south. 

 

The upper stations were established on a 50-meter high ridge above the ranch house in a large tent. 
This station had two HF stations, the satellite station, and the VHF (6 meter) station.  Antennas were 
two, three-element yagis (HyGainTH-3 and Cushcraft A-3), mounted upon 30- and 25-foot vertical masts, 
respectively.  The satellite antennas (AO-40) were mounted upon a short roof tower, ground mounted.  
A Cushcraft R-7 vertical mast-mounted on the edge of the sea cliff, 30m above the ocean. A 40-foot mast 
with inverted vee dipoles for 40 and 80 meters completed the upper station. Power was provided by four 
12 VDC batteries charged with an 1800 watt portable generator. 

 

By Saturday evening, our last night on the island, we had over 5K QSOs and decided to begin taking down 
our stations to be ready for the 9 am arrival of our boat on Sunday morning.  Everything came down 
just fine (we were blessed by a wet sea fog that morning) so we loaded the equipment and ourselves onto 
the Juanitos for the return voyage through the quiet sea back to Ensenada. Upon landing, we unloaded 
our gear from the boat into our cars for the final time. We rendezvoused at Hectors nearby relative’s 
home to leave some of the equipment (hopefully for the next IOTA expedition). We then wished each other 
well and went our separate ways home to hot showers and much deserved rests.

 

The results of the XF1K operation were most satisfying considering the only fair band conditions. 
10m and 12m never opened.15m opened to Europe and Asia for only several hours a day. We had one 
very good European opening on 17m with over 100 Europeans on CW. 20m of course, was our best 
band to all areas of the world. 30m was a pleasant surprise with 700 contacts, many in Europe 
and Asia. 40m was our band to Asia, 65 percent of the QSOs were with Japan. 80m produced only 
60 contacts in the US Sprint contest. The VHF/UHF operator had (31) 2 & 6m contacts, and (30) 
AO7, AO40 & SO50 contacts. The continent and mode breakdown is as follows:
Continent   QSOs              Percent                 Mode              QSOs              Percent

US               3150                57%                  CW                  3231                59%

EU               931                  17%                 SSB                 2238                41%

JA               756                  14%                  Total                5469

Others           635                  12%

Radio equipment consisted of three ICOM 706 and one Kenwood 440S. Power output was usually 
about 80 watts. All HF stations had RX filters so we were able to operate both CW and SSB on most bands. 
There was no noise so we were able to hear all most any signal that called us. When this operation 
was concluded the group produced over 5000 contacts.

By now most of the rare Baja islands closed to Hector’s home had been on the air so it came down to 
looking at what would be next from the list.  The plan called for NA-164 165 and 166 along with 
124 left to be considered.
 
In late 2003 it was decided to do NA-166 in the state of Sonora by activating Pajoros Island.  
The plan called for activation in early 2004.
Pajoros Island, NA166
The target date to start operations from Parajos was February 5, 2004. At noon on February 3, N6VR 
and N6JV arrived in Mexicali, Hector’s home and after passing through customs.  The combined cargo 
was loaded in a rental truck that was large enough for the equipment and operators.  Hector had 
fabricated a pipe rack that would hold all the masts, yagis and verticals above the bed of the truck.  
With everything loaded and tied down, it was time to head further south.  Guaymas, Sonora, the final 
destination would be 500 miles or 800 km away. 

The highways of Northern Mexico are in good condition and there were no problems traveling through 
the State of Sonora.  There were several customs and security checkpoints to pass through, but all 
the papers were in order.  Hector was very concerned about customs and was relived when we easily 
made it through, for the time that will took to explain and check all the equipment.  After midnight, 
the truck arrived in a small village near Hermosillo, Sonora.  Marco, XE2TG, has a second operating 
and contesting location in a cottage away from the noise of the large city.  Arrangements had been 
made to sleep there for the night.  In the morning it was breakfast and then to Marco’s home in the 
city.  Marco’s truck was loaded with additional gear and after picking up Gerardo, XE2Q, the convoy 
headed further south to Guaymas.  A few hours later, the operators met with the local hams that would 
be the support team.  XE2TNT, XE2UCT, XE2TVV and his son, and Sr. Miguel Orozco, who provided the boat 
for the trip to Parajos. By mid afternoon the boat was loaded and there was enough room for 3 passengers.  
Hector, Gerardo and Norm made the first trip to the island in the 18-foot outboard. 

Careful loading of the boat resulted in everything getting to the island dry except for the passengers.  
Miguel maneuvered the boat through the shallow areas around the landing site and stopped in the sand 
10 meters off shore.  It was time to take off the shoes and get into the water.  The water was a bit 
cold and the many sharp seashells made the unloading challenging.  Once everything was on the beach, 
the boat returned for the rest of the party.  Work started on the first of the beam antennas (TH3JR) 
that was to be installed near the beach.  Once erected, it was connected to an IC706 Mk2 using a storage 
battery to let everyone know that XF1K was on the island.  It was decided to keep on the air from the 
shore while the rest of the gear was moved off the beach and the tents set up.  The boat had returned and 
there were more people to help with the tents and antennas.  It was getting dark when the pile on 14260 
was worked out.  The wind was blowing strongly and the foot switch kept getting buried in the sand, but 
it was exciting to finally get on.

Parajos is a finger shaped island of volcanic origin.  The volcanic rock forms a steep long hill that 
is covered by the large Cardon cactus.  At one end of the island is the lighthouse and on the other 
is a 100-meter spit of level sand where the operation took place.  The middle of the spit is about 1 
meter above sea level.  There is a small clearing in the grass there and this is where the main 
operating tent was placed with the sleeping tent nearby.  To minimize interference, the tent that was 
to be used exclusively for CW was placed closer to the beach.  It was also used for sleeping.  The TH3JR 
yagi remained on the beach along with a DX88 all band vertical.  These were used mainly by the CW station 
using an IC 706 Mk2.  The A3S yagi, R7 vertical, 6-meter beam and the low band inverted “V” dipoles fed 
the main operating tent that had an IC 706, TS440S and a FT100 available.  All rigs were used in conjunction 
with laptop computers for logging.

A total of six deep cycle storage batteries were available as well as two 1800-watt generators.  Each 
station could choose whichever power source it could utilize best.  Some of the computers could run 
on the 12-volt batteries.  Power consumption was never a problem and one of the 1800-watt generators 
could run the entire camp.  The generators consumed ten gallons of gasoline during the operation.

The weather during the operation was very good with the exception of a constant wind that threatened to 
blow the tents and antennas down for the first two days.  Large rocks had to be placed over the tent pegs 
to keep them in the ground.  Antenna guy points were made from long reinforcing rods that would hold in 
the sand.  The wind made sleeping difficult and dust got into everything.

The first day netted several QSOs on 20, 40 and 75 meter SSB and 30 and 40 CW.  Only a few Europeans 
were worked, but the pile of JAs on 40 meters lasted all night.  With the dawn of the second day, good 
openings into Europe were worked on 20 and 15 meters.  In the afternoon, the JA and North American 
pileups kept everyone busy.  We were aware that few stations in Eastern Europe were in the log so we 
tried to concentrate on bands and times that would be best for that area.  Conditions improved as the 
operation went on and by the third day, large pileups of stations from all over Europe were put into 
the log.  Even 40 meters was a good band for working stations in Europe and the Middle East.  One hundred 
watts is good power when people are looking for you.  The initial count had 1286 European QSOs 
and 1318 with Japan.
The QSOs by band:
BAND               SSB                   CW
 
   6                    17

   10                   372                      1

   12                   76                    219

   15                   951                    754

   17                   297                    398

   20                   679                    498

   30                                        404

   40                    94                   1691

   80                    505                   82

  160                                          6

 

TOTALS:        2997                  4047

The grand total including dupes was 7221.  

With NA-166 out of the way it now was time to plan to venture into Southern Baja State some 
500 south of Hector’s home. On this expedition two different IOTA group were put on, namely 
NA-164 and NA-165.
After spending the night in El Centro, California, we crossed the border about 4 am and began 
the long trip south. We arrived just after dawn in Ensenada. After eating breakfast at Hector's 
favorite truck stop, we headed south on Highway 1 towards the border of Baja California Norte and 
Baja California Sur. The vegetation of Baja is very special and unique. Some types of desert trees 
are only found there. After traveling all day, the truck arrived in the town of Guerrero Negro. A 
distance of 680 miles had been traveled. Guerrero Negro is the largest city in this part of Baja. 
This is where the Biosphere Reserve El Vizcaino, which is the agency with the responsibility for 
the wildlife protection in this area, and where we obtained the written approval for the trip to 
Asuncion Island. The detour had added several hours to the trip so it was decided to drive to Bahia 
Asuncion that evening and try to get on the island early in the morning. We needed the extra time 
to make sure we could operate two full days on Asuncion. Several hours later the truck limped into 
the small town of Bahia Asuncion. The last 60 km had been over dirt roads where the dirt was arranged 
mostly as holes, ruts and washboards. Bahia Asuncion is a town of about 800 people, so it wasn’t difficult 
to find the Internet Café and its owner, Jose Luis Ogawa, ex-XE2TT, who had helped us arrange transportation.
We located the fisherman who would take us to the island the next morning. 

Isla Asuncion - NA164

Before dawn the crew was ready and on the beach. There are no docks or launching facilities. All the 
boats are pulled out on the sand with a communal one-ton surplus army truck. Boats are launched by 
extending a pole from the truck and then shoving the boats into the water. The boat was loaded with gear 
and people and pushed into the bay. Isla Asuncion is about 2 miles from the town. It is a protected 
island and has a large population of seals and birds. At one time, there were people living there and 
the cement foundation of a small building is still present as well as some cement steps that have been 
set into the cliff. This is where we landed to the objections of several large seals that had been using 
the steps. The boat captain had arranged to provide us with a helper to assist us in carrying all the 
gear up the cliff to the campsite. We had to restrict our activities to the area where we landed so as 
not to disturb the wildlife. The seagulls that occupied this area were not inconvenienced by our presence 
and seemed to accept us. Each morning the tents would be surrounded by sea gulls that took little interest 
in us. The gulls would decide to all take off at once several times a day. The noise from several hundred 
sea gulls all squawking at once as they passed over the tent, required a short QRX until they passed.

The main tent was placed near the old foundation with the A3S tribander on one side and a 30-foot mast 
with a 75/40 meter inverted V dipole on the other. The DX88 vertical with thirty-five 75-foot radials was 
placed about 100 feet south, as far as the coax would reach. The smaller tent was placed to the north with 
the generators in between. A pair of R7 verticals were placed to the north of the small tent to get maximum 
separation from the other vertical. An IC706 was used as the SSB station and a TS450S was used for CW in 
the main tent. The small tent had the second CW station using an IC706 Mk2. The main tent also had the use 
of a 400-watt amplifier borrowed from Mike, AD5A. Various filters were employed to cut down interference. 
As soon as the tribander was up, we were on 20 meter SSB. The first contact was with Fred, N6AWD. The 
SSB station and at least one CW station were on all day and night. Shifts on 40 meter CW insured the 
maximum number of stations in the log. The boat made extra trips to see how we were doing and brought 
some fresh food prepared by Captains wife. Fish and lobster tacos seem to be popular.

The weather was very clear and warm during the day, but the wind never ceased. During the night the small 
tent collapsed in the wind several times on top of the operator and required a QRX to tie things down. 
Chunks of concrete from the demolished building helped hold down tent pegs. In spite of the wind, the 
propagation was very good and exceptionally quiet. We had good openings into Europe on 40 and 20 meters. 
Europe was also worked on 75/80. By the second morning, the last European was in the 20-meter CW log. We 
had made a total of 5334 QSOs. The camp was disassembled and equipment hauled down to the beach. The boat 
Captain was back with another helper and the boat was loaded. This time it was low tide and there was 
great difficulty in getting the boat back into the open water. Everyone was in the water pushing the 
boat with each large wave. Once into the sea, it was a very slow trip as the swell was very high. After 
the truck pulled the boat onto the beach and everything was loaded onto the truck, we all had a nice meal 
as the guests of our boat Captain and his wife at their home. The trip across Baja took the rest of the 
day and we arrived in Santa Rosalia, an old French mining town and port, after traveling 160 miles. We 
had to present our permits to the local Port authority and inform them of our plans to stay on Santa Ines 
Island. The next day, we traveled the additional 40 miles south to Mulege.
Isla Santa Ines – NA165

Mulege is a fishing and tourist town on the mouth of one of the few rivers in Baja. It is very tropical 
with many palm and fruit trees. An inspection of the sea confirmed what we had seen in Santa Rosalia. 
The weather was bad and it would be too dangerous to try to travel the 9 miles to the island. Arrangements 
with Jose Luis and Antonio Romero were made to take us to the island if weather permitted. We would stay 
a few days and see what happened. XE2TG, XE2Q and XE2UCT had planned on joining us for Santa Ines, but 
the poor weather convinced them that it wasn’t worth the risk and high expense of traveling by ferry 
from Guaymas in Sonora to Santa Rosalia in Baja Sur, an eight-hour trip. Success at this point was very 
doubtful. A local tour operator also showed us a web site where the sea swell could be predicted. There 
was the possibility of making it to Santa Ines the third day. All of the equipment and supplies were 
sorted so that only the minimum would be taken to the island. About one third of what was used before 
was left with the truck. All of the batteries were given a full charge in the motel room.

On the morning of the 14th of January the boat was loaded with gear and towed down to the launching 
area by the Mulege Lighthouse at the mouth of the river. It was smooth going until we hit the open sea. 
The swell was high and the boat kept dropping off one wave into the next. Life jackets were used, but 
only to sit on. It was a very rough trip. Once we were near the island, the sea became calmer and we 
had little trouble unloading everything on the beach. There are three islands in this group, but the 
other two were little more than small rocks. The south end of the island had a low ridge that afforded 
a little protection from the wind and a good place to set the beam up. As soon as the beam was up, a 
station was active on 20-meter SSB using battery power. Pat, VE7QCR, was the first contact. During this 
pile up, the main tent was built and placed over the operator. By noon, all the tents and antennas were 
up. Only one R7 was used on the south end of the camp and the DX88 as far north as possible. The 75-meter 
dipole was placed near the center by the generators. The coax for the tribander could reach either tent. 
The wind had followed us from the Pacific side of Baja to the Sea of Cortez side and never let up. The 
next day, the sea was very rough and we were getting nervous about the trip back.

 

The operating pattern that had worked so well at Asuncion was used on Santa Ines. Forty meters was on 
all night long. A good European opening on 20 meters in the morning worked well using the R7. The last 
morning we planned to use the tribander to make sure all the Europeans that wanted us had the best 
chance. During the early morning, there was a flare and 40 meters was very good long path to Europe. 
When 20 meters was tried, only a few Northern Europeans were heard. The sea was rough and the boat arrived 
early to try and get us off the island. AD5A was the last in the log for a total of 4458 QSOs. We began to 
tear down the camp as fast as possible. What once took us 4 hours, we did in 2. We were very tired and had 
to wade into the water to get lines on the boat so we could get it close enough to load. Equipment was 
carried out to the boat and stowed anywhere it would fit. Once the lines and anchor were secured, it was 
back into open water. The trip out was rough; the trip back was a twice as bad. We were wet when we got 
into the boat and managed to get a lot wetter. Nine miles had to be endured before we reached the river 
mouth at Mulege. If we and the boat’s Captain knew what we were going to be in for, we would never have 
gone out. 

So as of early 2005 six rare Mexican island groups have been heard from thus only NA-124 
remained. As I write this short history of the XF1K group NA-124 will be heard from in February 2006.

 

I want to thank Ray N6VR and Norm N6JV for providing their thoughts from their island adventures.