When Roger/the IOTA committee announced that the Yakutat Borough islands would be a “new one” I started a search for outfitters. Yakutat is a community focused on charter boat fishing. I went to their community website, as well as their Chamber of Commerce website & sent inquiries to every charter boat captain I could find.
Most replies were negative, some said contact them again if all my other inquiries failed but one charter boat captain replied that he knew a guide who could take us out to Khantaak Island.
This was Mark Sappington & his guide was Dean Riley, an ex Afghanistan arena helicopter gunnery guy who grew up in Yakutat.
We spent several weeks exchanging e-mails about what we needed & how much it would cost us to rent/otherwise access the necessary camping gear.
So, as is customary in the far north, once we bought our air tickets, things seemed to come together.
Yakutat is the smallest community in the world that has daily jet air service. It’s on the Alaskan Air route from Seattle to Anchorage in the am, and the reverse route from Anchorage to Seattle in the afternoon.
Our NA-250 operation was conducted from the north end of Khantaak Island. This location was chosen by our guide because it afforded a sandy beach where a safe landing could be accomplished and where we could erect our vertical dipole antennas close to the salt water.
In addition, the adjacent land was primarily old (last year’s) tall grass and a campsite could be easily established w/ good visibility to watch for bears.
Dean was not only our guide, but also our bear guard. While we spotted a brown bear cub close to our camp & Dean identified bear tracks adjacent to our campsite, we did not have any ‘face to face” bear encounters.
Our QSO total for four days/three nights was 2,770 & was affected by a solar disturbance chiefly on Saturday night during the EU opening.
We were active on 40m, 30m 20m & 17m using two stations on CW, SSB and FT8.
A big “thank you” to IREF for a generous contribution to this IOTA DXpedition.
73…..Mike K9AJ & Bruce KD6WW