A web site dedicated to the unique island of

Soqotra (Socotra)

Island of the Dragon’s Blood Tree

My amateur radio station on Soqotra in 1964/65

CQ de VS9SJF

(Morse code speak for "VS9SJF calling all stations")

For some years I had been interested in short-wave radio and had developed my interest by obtaining an amateur radio licence while stationed on Cyprus. My callsign was 5B4JF, operating from my home in Limassol. Once I was selected for the Soqotra Expedition I applied to the British Aden Protectorate, as it was then, for a licence to operate from Soqotra. The callsign issued to me was VS9SJF. VS9 SocotraJoint Forces.

This was the first amateur radio operation from the Island and during the two months the expedition was on the Island I made contact with over 1000 other 'hams' in over 100 countries world wide. That really put the Island on the shortwave map of the world!

My equipment was a Heathkit DX-40 transmitter (75 watts input) using mainly morse code (cw) and the receiver was an RCA AR88D. Shortwave bands from 3.5mhz to 28mhz were used. A multi-band dipole antenna was used plus a vee beam antenna with legs 200 feet long with 600ohm open-wire feeder.. Power for the station was supplied by a 240 volt petrol generator.





13 December 2004. I came across a website with many amateur radio QSL cards. One of my QSL cards was among the collection. These cards are used to 'confirm' contacts between hams and QSL cards from operations like my Socotra operation are much saught after. This one confirms a contact I had with VU2GG in India on 24 January, 1965 on the 20m band (14 mhz) using CW (morse code). VU2GG's signal was 5-8-9 which is strong and very readable.

In 1965 I obtained my British amateur radio licence, callsign G3UCQ, which I used untiI I sold my equipment in 1985.

18 October 2002 - I have discovered that my operation as VS9SJF in 1964/65 was the only amateur radio operation from the Island to have ever taken place. I wonder if I shall ever have the oppourtunity to operate from there again? It would be nice.

8 October 2005 - I re-acquired my 'old' callsign - G3UCQ.

13 October 2005 - Bought a Kenwood TS570 transceiver.

16 October 2005 - Made my first ham contact for over 20 years with a station on Alderney,

Channel Islands. Well - it's a start!

23 October 2006. I have now made contact, mostly using morse code (cw) with 103 countries, some of the more exotic ones being Nepal, Mongolia, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Iraq, Western Sahara, Paraguay, Senegal, Kuwait, UAE and S. Africa.

October 2007. I applied for planning permission to erect a mast and rotatable antenna.

December 2007. The planning permission was granted.

Now I have upgraded to the Yaesu FT2000 shown here. A really sophisticated piece of electronic engineering.










I have also doubled the size of the antenna which has made it far more efficient for working long distances.

This is a picture of the rotatable antenna I got planning permission for back in December 2007. It has been in operation since March 2008 and is working well.

The antenna is a TGM MQ36-sr which covers the ham bands 20m, 17m, 15m, 12m, 10m and 6m.

The antenna rotator is the bell-shaped object sitting under the antenna. The mast holding it all up is a Tennamast which allows the antenna to be cranked up and down and tilted away from the wall to allow maintenance to the antenna. The mast is not fully extended in this picture.

Up to July 2010 I have now made contact with 219 countries including Vietnam, Solomon Is, and Antarctica,


30th April, 2012.

Heard on the amateur radio grapevine today that Socotra Island is about to be re-activated tonight by a large team of Russian and American hams using 7O6T as their call sign. http://www.yemen2012.com
Suddenly, this website has become popular for those wanting to discover more about this island.  I just hope I can put Socotra in my log.

13 May, 2012
The team on Socotra have now been operating for over one week and I have made contact 10 times so far.
The team is operating from the Summerland Hotel in Hadibo and will be leaving on 15 May.

19 May 2012.  The team have now left the Island.  Over 140,000 contacts were made with hams around the World and I managed to make 12 different (bands and modes) contacts with Soqotra.


5 May 2013.
Countries contacted now total 278.