Cocos (Keeling) VK9YS 1987

By Jim VK9NS

I had activated VK9Y previously but the plans for a return visit in 1987 would be in the name of H.I.DX.A. Bob Winn, W5KNE who was then running QRZ DX, and myself were good friends and decided to go together.

One other factor had also come into play. Political changes had taken place and the original ‘owners’ of Cocos (Keeling) - the Clunies Ross family - had been relegated to their 'traditional' home area, namely Home Island. John Clunies Ross Jr. had felt that some form of tourism to 'his' island would assist financially. It was then suggested that the idea of an amateur radio station based on Home Island together with suitable accommodation might be another string to his bow.

Bob Winn and I arrived on Home Island more or less on schedule, but nothing was actually ready. My trip from Norfolk Island via Sydney, Alice Springs and Perth to catch the weekly flight to Cocos (Keeling) had been frustrating. My brand new FL2100Z amplifier had been offloaded in Alice Springs, and flight schedules made it impossible to get it to Perth in time. John, VK6JJ (in Perth) came to the rescue. I would swop my new amplifier for his current FL21002 which was a year old. End of amplifier saga.

Bob and I felt ourselves to be trail blazers as we settled into our stay on Home Island. We both got on the air fairly quickly but there were serious problems with mutual interference. The 'shacks' were set up in the old class rooms of the now defunct school. This being on the second floor, made grounding of equipment a major headache. The facility of a substantial beam antenna had also not been completed. Considerable time was spent in resolving these problems.

However, dismal as this picture may seem, nothing can detract from the sheer beauty of Cocos (Keeling). Bob and I had rooms in the old Clunies Ross home; a magnificent house built in true regal style. John's father, John Clunies Ross Sr. was known as the 'King' of Cocos. I was never sure if this was said to his face, but the history of the Island is a 'must read' story. My background knowledge improved considerably during my stay on the Island.

Since our initial DXpedition made use of the Clunies Ross facilities, many DX groups have visited Home Island. Others, interested in scuba diving, have also made the trip there. It is certainly a great experience.

H.I.DX.A. is pleased to have been intrumental in setting up this great DX location.

NB. The callsign structure is now VK9C for activity from Cocos (Keeling.)