Amateur Radio News / Events

It’s All in the Cards! QSL Cards from Bouvet Island

Editor’s Note: As the 3Y0J Bouvet Island 2023 team gets closer to being on the air, all of us at DX Engineering and OnAllBands—on behalf of amateur operators around the world—express our most sincere thanks to the entire team for making this incredibly rare opportunity possible by undertaking this complex and risk-filled operation in the spirit of the countless ham radio adventurers who have preceded them.

Most importantly, all of us wish the operators and crew good health, the safest possible operation, and worry-free travels as they finish their time on Bouvet and safely return to tell their amazing stories.


DX Engineering

Bouvet Island QRV in February

Do you have a QSL card from Bouvet Island? If you said “no,” and it’s more likely than not that you did, you’re in good company. This second-rarest of all DXCC entities is an elusive bird indeed—the proverbial needle in a haystack, as uncommon as a Cleveland Browns playoff victory, as coveted as a Honus Wagner tobacco card, as hard to obtain as a chocolate milkshake at McDonald’s—you know, because the darn machine’s always busted.

It’s the reason that the active hams at DX Engineering are as excited as you are about the prospect of landing the Moby Dick of DXCC entities—a great white whale that resurfaces every few decades before disappearing back into the deep. It will be interesting to see how far Bouvet’s ranking falls after the upcoming DX Engineering-sponsored 3Y0J Bouvet Island DXpedition has run its course. Plans are to try for 200,000 QSOs—a lofty goal that could easily drop Bouvet out of the top ten. Our collective fingers are certainly crossed. For the latest news, visit the 3Y0J website.

Also check out this Facebook Live video of Tim Duffy, K3LR, DX Engineering CEO, interviewing Otis, NP4G, and Adrian, KO8SCA, of the 3Y0J team.

How badly do hams want to bag Bouvet Island? Here are some comments hams posted during the interview:

  • Thanks for devoting your time and energy to make so many of us ecstatic.
  • Counting the days. Can’t wait!
  • Looking forward to working this ATNO!
  • Bouvet is one of six left I need to “work them all.” See you on CW.

Like QSL cards from the Crozet Islands, which we highlighted in December, Bouvet Island QSOs have eluded most of the DX Engineering team—a testimony to the fact that you’ll be looking at massive pileups in pursuit of making contact with the most remote, uninhabited spot on the planet. As with Crozet, the same hams from DX Engineering (Scotty, KG9Z, and Wayne, K8FF) were fortunate enough to make contact with Bouvet Island.

Scotty, KG9Z, DX Engineering customer service/technical support specialist, contacted the 3Y5X DXpedition to Bouvet on New Year’s Eve 1989. The 16-day, five-operator DXpedition netted 49,000 QSOs (30,000 phone, 16,800 CW, and a handful of Digital). Though KG9Z isn’t fully certain about what he used to make the CW contact, he guesses that he employed a Yaesu FT-101ZD, Heathkit SB-200 ANT linear amplifier, and a 40-meter dipole.

Wayne, K8FF, DX Engineering customer service/technical support specialist, received the below QSL card from the historic LH4C 1962 Bouvet Island DXpedition. Read more about the DXpedition in this OnAllBands article.

“I was 16 years old and had very basic equipment,” K8FF recalls about making contact with Bouvet Island. “Probably a Heathkit transmitter and a Hallicrafters receiver with a 40-meter dipole antenna. I was only able to work him (Gus Browning, W4BPD) once on CW, but it still counts. Then in 2001 I was able to work 3Y0C on phone, but I don’t have a paper QSL from that contact, just an LoTW confirmation. I am looking forward to having an FT8 QSO with the upcoming operation.”

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