The 3G0YA Easter Island DXpedition has concluded. The operation was QRV from 18-Apr-2024 thru 06-May-2024 and ended with more than 140,000 contacts having been made. Club Log reports Easter Island as 83rd on the Most Wanted list so while not particularly rare, anything in the top 100 is good to have in the log and even better if you never worked it, and a LOT of hams worked it.

NA was no doubt easy pickings for the team as I managed to work them on three bands, all using FT8. I had previously worked Easter Island via CW so I didn’t actually chase them, I just worked them whenever I happened to see them calling.

The operation seemed to go off with few problems (easy to say from this end!) and I was particularly interested in how well their logging worked from the Pacific island. I watched their livestream for several hours and even noted my own call showed up in their logs seconds after each contact with them. How did they do it?

Take a look at their QRZ page for photos and details of the entire operation, but pay particular attention to the photo with the Starlink equipment. This was the magic sauce that made instant updates possible. Of it, the team said:

“We brought our own Starlink satellite equipment and have good Internet connectivity”.

This innovation seems an obvious choice for any DX operation that can take advantage of the global fleet of LEO sats that support it. Cheaper than previous satellite services and quickly becoming the de facto standard, success stores like the now concluded Easter Island operation will no doubt spur additional use.

I think it also signals the beginning of the end for amateur radio support for emergency communications.

If a team can drive into a disaster zone and deploy small generators with Starlink routers and small patch antennas, suddenly reliable WiFi and internet connectivity becomes available for emergency workers in the area. Who needs ham radio for remote wireless access in this situation?

This seems a clear harbinger for how the future of amateur radio emergency communications might end, or at least morph into something other than what it is today. Heck, it’s already here.

Everyone has EmComm in their pocket, all they need is a WiFi signal…