Here is a quick summary of our Philippines IOTA tour. When landing in Manila we were met by Ramon DU1UGZ and Thelma DU1IVT at the airport. Later that night we had a nice dinner and then went on to visit Robin DU9RG who lives just outside Manila in a beautiful house. After the warm welcome in Manila we met with the DXØDX team leader Chris VK3FY who informed us about the situation and the expected delay in departure. At this point there was hope to send the first part of the team the following day, so we relocated to Puerto Princesa in Palawan Island (OC-128) to be ready.
After arriving in Puerto Princesa and getting together with the rest of the team bad news of more delays followed the coming days, then on January 12th it was decided to postpone the expedition.
After some initial disappointment we decided to leave Puerto Princesa and extend our planned IOTA activity. We had already been active from Palawan Island for several nights (and so had Dave DU1/K3LP) so there where no reason to continue emitting RF from there.
We relocated to Caticlan were we rented a boat to take us to the Semirara Island Group (OC-125), our target was Caluya, a small island that seldom sees visitors from our part of the world. Like most remote pacific islands our presence generated lots of interest in the village where we first of all where welcomed by the coast guard who wanted to know our names, age and marriage status. The children of Caluya where very curios, and everywhere we walked we had a posse following us. We where only able to stay two days at Caluya and with limited power availability and S7 QRN levels we where able to make a total of 800 contacts mainly on 20 and 40 meter.
Next stop on our trip was the planned activity from Tablas Island (OC-244) in the Romblon province. Because of the changed travel schedule we arrived two days early to Tablas and where active on the afternoon of January 15. Our location, the Buenavista Beach Resort, is a very remote and QRN free environment on the beach. Here we had more space for antennas and a total of three antennas where erected. On 40-17 meters we used a vertical dipole, on 15-10 meter a diamond loop and finally we also went on Topband using an inverted L with one elevated radial stretching to the beach.
Propagation on higher bands where very slow and Topband was very quiet except for some AS/OC and one opening to EU on January 17 in our sunset. 40-17 meter were our preferred bands and we worked more than 1.800 contacts from Tablas Island. Our normal operating time was in mornings, afternoons and evenings local time. In midday the bands where pretty much quiet.