September 17, 2016

Vestmannaeyjar (IOTA EU-071)

Last edited: 03.10.2016

Between September 13th and September 16th, 2016, a team from the Cambridge University Wireless Society was active from the Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands), Iceland. The team was reported to include G3ZAY, M0BLF, DK2AB, M0WUT, M0ZXA, and M0VFC. The operators all were active as TF/homecall. I managed to work TF/M0VFC (20m SSB), TF/DK2AB (30m CW), and TF/G3ZAY (30m CW). The contacts are already confirmed in Clublog, and QSL cards are requested by OQRS. I will post them on my blog as soon as I've received them.

I've been fascinated by the Vestmannaeyjar ever since I read about them in a travel guide book about Iceland. They're situated approximately 11 kilometres off the coast of southwest Iceland. It's a relatively rare IOTA, and it's the first time I've worked the archipelago. The biggest island and the only inhabited one is Heimaey. This most probably is also the island where the Cambridge University team was active from. During a vulcanic eruption on Heimaey in 1973, around 400 houses were destroyed, and the entire population had to be evacuated to mainland Iceland. The islands are home to about 4 million puffins as well as many other seabirds.

Between 1998 and 2002 a bay on the island of Heimaey was home to Keiko the killer whale, star of the Free Willy movie. After a life in captivity, Keiko was released here and stayed in the bay until 2002 when he finally departed and with wild orcas swam to Norway.

Vestmannaeyjar town on Heimaey during the eruption of 1973 (source)

Another iconic photo of the 1973 eruption (source)
The island of Ellidaey, one of the Westman Islands, and the only house on it (actually a hunting lodge which is not permanently in use) (source)

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