Every since our DXpedition to Bora Bora Island (OC-67) in French Polynesia in 2012, we have been interested in the RSGB Islands On The Air (IOTA) program and the associated awards.
I believe that our presence on a medium-rare IOTA while were in French Polynesia contributed significantly to the success of our operation there. Anita (AB1QB) and I have been working on our IOTA Awards and have completed and confirmed enough contacts to earn the base award (shown above). Fred needs to confirm just 1 more of his IOTA contacts to complete an IOTA 200 Award.
The RSGB IOTA website is excellent and contains many resources for the IOTA chaser. Information on current and previous activations are available there as well as a great tool for completing an application for an IOTA Award. There are a total of 1200 IOTAs on the official IOTA list at any given time and some of these are quite rare.
The RSGB publishes an IOTA Directory which is an excellent source of information about the IOTA program as well as for the HAM considering an IOTA activation. The IOTA program requires all contacts to be confirmed via cards or via confirmations derived from participation in RSGB IOTA Contests. We have done both and we recently worked with our regional IOTA card checker, Dan Sullivan (W4DKS) to have our cards checked and to complete our award applications. We learned that it is important to look carefully at the information the QSL cards applied to this award as they must contain the island name on the card to qualify. Some folks mistakenly fill in an IOTA number in their information on QRZ.com when they are not actually located on a valid IOTA. Since many loggers which track the IOTA awards use the QRZ.com information to determine which contacts are with IOTAs, your logs will sometimes indicate that you have worked more IOTAs that you actually have. We both cleaned up our logs in this area as we went through the IOTA award application process.
The are many opportunities to work variations of the IOTA Awards including the Honor Roll, VHF/UHF and Marathon programs. These are all great opportunities for the serious IOTA chaser to have more fun.
We are proud to have earned our IOTA certificates and we are always looking to make contacts with new IOTAs when we can. The IOTA contests are also great fun and we’re planning to continue to participate in there. If you like to work DX, take a look at the RSGB IOTA program. It’s another good reason to get on the air and make some interesting contacts.
– Fred (AB1OC)