Back                                                                                                                                                                                                  Operating from Bonaire

The Island
Bonaire became a new DXCC-entity on 10-10-2010. This means that a lot of radio hams like to make a contact with us on the HF-bands. Considering that there are only 3 radio hams active (October 2013) you can imagine that normally after calling CQ hell will break loose
J. Therefore, it remains for us radio hams always a fun challenge to be active on the HF bands. Luckily for people who want to work me I always liked pile ups so being “on the right side “ of one gives me really great pleasure. Of course I am aware of the fact that I should make a high QSO average in order to make everybody happy with a new contact with Bonaire.

The QSL-confirmation of these contacts was another challenge, with long delays on bureau cards on one side and a not too reliable mail system on the other side.
I am not a QSL-card or awards collector myself so knowing that brought me on a very good practical solution, using a QSL manager.
Since December 2012 I use the excellent services of Tim, M0URX, the only thing I do is uploading my log changes to him and he takes care of all the rest.
He has a “QSL on demand” service (OQRS) running on his website and everybody who worked me can order a bureau card for free or order a direct card by contributing him 2 Euro via Paypal and all of this without sending him any paperwork, because I do not need the cards. A nice example of this outstanding service was a station from EA6 who I talked to 4 days after we had a QSO on 6 meters and believe it or not he already found his (direct) card already in the mail!

My operating practice
Being at “the right side” of the pile up demands a whole different approach on how to behave on the bands. Operating from Bonaire on HF is quite similar to operating a permanent DX-pedition. Therefore it is necessary to follow the “rules” of the DX-code of conduct for DX-peditions.
Often I get huge pile-ups from the US or EU and weaker DX stations have great difficulties in getting through. Therefore it is good to know that I always watch the
DX-cluster while operating so I will be able to ask for a specific DX-station.
When low power stations just hear me and don’t try to give me  a call because they think I run QRO, well forget it I never run more than 200 watts, so just give it a try.
Normally I do not stay on the air for many hours and I can not work everybody, but be aware of the fact that I am a permanent resident of Bonaire and thus QRV quite often.
I operate both phone and CW modes and unfortunately not very interested in digital modes, mainly because the bore me as it is only pushing the “F2 and F4” button to make QSO’s……..

Some hints and tips
As I wrote before I like to work pile-ups but I always like to make “normal QSO’s”.
In a pile-up this is normally not done so if you call CQ then it is no big deal for me to give you a call and we will be able to have a normal chat.

I am still surprised that not many people call CQ and this can absolutely bring you new DXCC’s and nice QSO’s.
When I work split in a pile up I also listen in the whole split window, so just look for a more quiet spot and give me a shout this may be very effective.
Calling with full call also helps a lot, this normally speeds up the QSO-average.

Past,present and future activities
Despite we only have 3 active hams there still is other activity going on.
We often have visitors in one of our vacation houses or on the huge winning contest station owned by Noah, K2NG. In October 2010 PJ4B activated this QTH.
So there’s a lot of holiday style DX-peditioning and contest activity.
When activating Bonaire as a new DXCC we had a great event going on, on 6 different locations more the 20 hams were QRV. Different single letter suffix callsigns were issued and the most special one was undoubtly PJ4W. From the shortwave relay station of Radio Netherlands Bonaire, we were allowed to use the bog curtain antenna’s with a gain of 21 dBD(!). Of course this was a great once in a lifetime experience, imagine, you activate a new DXCC and all that while using this huge antenna system. Unfortunately Radio Netherlands had to close down their facility only two years later so there’s no chance to repeat this anymore.
Another memorable recent operation was PJ4C in January 2012 by the French F6KOP team! They were operating from the Kontiki Beach resort on the east coast.

As we expect the pile-ups to stay we can also expect more DX-pedition activities on Bonaire.

Hear you in the pile-ups!!!
Or just give CQ and you might hear me coming back for you :-)

Peter, PJ4NX at PJ4W Radio Netherlands Bonaire Oct. 2010

Humberto, CX3AN operated from our Kas Senkuria in 2011

The Radio Nethelamds Bonaire antenna farm with 21 dBD curtain antenna's in different directions.

PJ4W film :

PJ4C film :

PJ4B film :

Activity from Noah's(K2NG contest)station.

Most of the new DXCC activators at the pre-activatio dinner.
Upper row from left to right: PA3GVI, PJ4NX, W0LSD, PE2MC, PA8F, PG4M, PA0GMW.
Underneath from left to right: PJ4LS, K6AM, PE2MC, DL9USA, N0VD.

Read the full story of the new DXCC activation:  part1 and part 2 (PDF-files)