The TO7C story began in Lomé (Togo) airport lounge while the 5V7C team was waiting for the return flight to Paris. We were willing to quickly setup a new "light" DXpedition to an island part of the IOTA programme.
The new location had to be close to the equator due to the poor propagation conditions expected in 2005 and be relatively rare. The "Iles du Salut" (SA-020) looked like a good compromise.
The most recent ham radio trips to SA-020 were:
Jan 2002 - FY5KE/P
Jun 2001 - FY/F5KEE
Aug 2000 - FY/F5AEG
Nov 1999 - FY5FU/P
The "Iles du salut", are located at 14 kms
from the French Guiana coast at the East of
Kourou space center. They hosted during a century
a prison (1852-1947) and were hell for the
thousands of convicts who stayed there.
This volcanic archipelago was named by the survivors of desastrous Kourou expedition in 1764. It is made of: the largest Royale Isl. (28 ha), St Joseph Isl. (20 ha) and the small "Devil's Isl."
When you land on Royale Isl. it is hard to imagine the living conditions of the 20 to 30,000 convicts who stayed (and generally died) there. It was nearly impossible to escape due to the surrounding sharks.
The prisoners arrived on Royale Isl. and were then dispatched to one of the 3 islands depending on how they were flagged :
The "Politics" were sent to "Devil's Isl." It has been reserved to French officer "Captain Dreyfus" sentenced in 1895 for high treason. He stayed there fully isolated for 5 years until he was declared innocent after a new investigation.
The long term prisoners were sent to St Joseph where they stayed from a few months up to 5 years. Living conditions in 2 square meters cells were terrible with limited food and an strict restriction to speak. The sunligth never entered the cells and many prisoners died from diseases.
Located at one hour sailing from Kourou, this place looks like heaven nowadays...
Our QTH will the guest house located on royale island.
This island is also part of the French overseas islands diploma (DIFO FY-008) and of the World LightHouse programme (LH0911)
The first half of the team will land in Kourou on the 6th of March and will begin seting up the stations with limited traffic until the other crew members arrive on the island on the 10th of March.