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


(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 opportunity to operate from there again? It would be nice.

To see my current amateur radio activity please visit https://www.qrz.com/lookup and enter G3UCQ in the search box.