Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Working extreme rare places - Memmert Island EU-047

 Personally one of the highlights of this hobby is to contact people at far away places. We most times call it working DX. In our hobby working is the same as contacting, just to be clear about that! Working Mexico for instance is real DX and rare for a HAM in Europe but it is more common if you're in the USA. However working with rare countries (DXCC in HAM language) is one thing. You can also concentrate on working islands. There are actually HAMs trying to work as many islands as possible and there is a complete IOTA (Islands On The Air) program which has every island or group of islands divided in references. Of course the rarest islands are those that are normally not accessible to people, if you can contact people on such an island it is just like a little gem and most unique.

Source: Infografik der Welt

So it happens last week there was an item on the DX-world website about the activation of a rare island by two German HAMs. It is the first time activation from this bird sanctuary in the waddensea which can only be visited by a limited number of people each year. And Memmert island (EU-047) happens to be near to my QTH. Although......I never heard about this island before. Strange isn't it, because with good weather we are able to see this island if standing on the dyke just 6 km from my QTH.

I think these guys deserve some extra publication since this will be a short (probabely 1 hour) activation from a extremely rare island. Just to get there is not easy since there is no harbour. The only ship getting there is coming from the island of Juist which is a car free island, so traveling will walking or by bicycle. So imagine, those guys will bring both a IC-7300, Heil headsets, some batteries and antennas in for just 1 hour of activating this island! I know what it is since my last island activation in 2012 with just a FT-817 which is much lighter as an IC-7300. And what about the uncertain weather, I can tell you it is not really fun if it is raining and the wind blows on such an island. What can I tell you, this is real HAM spirit!!

If you're interested you can find a german article here:

To read it just translate with google translate in your own language, it worked for me!

On the other side of Borkum we have a similair kind of island which is of course Dutch. It is called Rottum and actually it exists from 3 islands, Rottummeroog, Rottumerplaat and Zuiderduintjes. A family lived on Rottumeroog till 1965. I really don't know if this island has been activated by amateurradio operators in the past. I can't find any info about it. Rottumeroog is also a bird sanctuary and you're unable to visit the island without a guide. 

Some information about the island:

(translate with google translate)

You can find some youtube videos from Rottum to see what it is like to be there:

I always dream of activating Rottumeroog. Although I haven't got the time and the experience to do such a thing. I know others have much better portable equipment and good skills, hopefully they will pick it up. It would be a great reward to work someone from a uninhabited island especially close to my QTH.

Above you can see Rottumerplaat and Memmert Island in relation to my QTH Roodeschool.

Look out for DJ4EL Markus and DJ5TM Thorsten on 20m and 40m SSB. They will be around this Friday 3rd of September at approx 11:30 GMT.  QTH locator JO33kp. From what I understood is that they will both work with their own calls using both a IC-7300, 100W, Heil headsets and vertical antennas. So there will be 2 stations on air at the same time. But be quick as the activation time will be about one hour only.

Good luck!

Update 1-Sept. 16:00GMT: Markus wrote me there is good news. They will be active for 2 hours now!


  1. Ik ben benieuwd wanneer de eerste activatie komt van de Markerwadden. Lijkt me ook nog een bijzondere IOTA.

    1. Volgens IOTA definitie niet. Eilanden in inlandse meren krijgen geen IOTA nummer.

  2. Very interesting! IOTA is all very odd. In Wales, we have many islands a bit like you have, that fully qualify under the IOTA rules. But for reasons probably linked to English exceptionalism, all the Welsh islands were simply lumped into one designation (EU-124). It's one reason I don't chase IOTA.

    1. Same here John, I don't chase islands. But because of the effort thes guys make and the rarity of this island I really want try making a QSO with them. So far I already worked a lot of "Wadden Islands" but there are some left here in the Netherlands that can't be accessed without official permission. 73, Bas

    2. Reason for the bigger designations are to keep it relative easy to manage. If they would assign all island a designation only Indonesia by itself would be 17508 numbers...

    3. Ha! Yes, I suppose there is that aspect. I'm rather suspicious of schemes with rules, as the recent antagonism towards allowing Cornwall to have a 'GK' secondary locator proved. The RSGB supported the designation, only to oppose it later because contesters in other parts of England thought they would lose out. OFCOM became a joke, changing its mind repeatedly due to political matters, radio matters, and the views of the RSGB.


Thanks for your comment. Bedankt voor je reactie. 73, Bas