Desert Island Ham Net - 18 October 2021

So for one night only, I was the Desert Island Ham - Gareth GM0WUR

I'm lost on a desert island and I need to be rescued. So I'm asking for my friends to help me build a radio station so that I can call for help.

Will it work, Will i survive... Listen in to the Net and find out.

So what did I end up with?

Well wasn't it fun, What started out as a thourght experiment on building a Radio Station to get myself rescued,

turned into quite the adventure with advise tips suggestions and recomendations on survival!


The Radio

VE6DCV & M1BIK - Top Tips from these gentlemen, Strip by damaged Yacht for it's Marine Band VHF or have a QRP Rig something like an FT818

Coax & Connectors

2E1HWE to the rescue with his amazing Melli Piloni Ultra Flex coax and to keep those all important joints tight, sealed and sand free he gave us some N Type connectors

The Power Supply

Theres no school like 'old school' and we went back to basics with MM3XGP who reminded us all of the inventor Trevor Bayliss and his wind up radio. So we go with the wind up hand operated micro generator to power our QRP Station.




What use is a radio station without and antenna, Now this one is too difficult to call. So i'm going to say i'm going with two ideas here. You will understand why in a moment.

1) M0UKB gave us a Multi Band 1/2 wave end fed antenna - Broad spectrum HF Bands

2) MM3XGP wanted to go one better with the DX Commander. Why? Well not only is it a cracking antenna - but it could also serve as a fishing pole when i need something more than just fresh coconuts.


Hey i'm on an island with by definition not perfect antennas, So and ATU was needed to improve my chances. GM0UUB went digging through his shack and presented us with and MFJ949 - Small, Mighty and Manual just the kind of ATU for my desert island.

Choice of Mode

Oh wow this was a hot topic. Now I'm a huge fan of digi modes and initally it looked like PSK or FT8 were the way to go.


Excelent case put forward by M6CMG.


But in the end that idea was overwhelmed - the final votes decided our mode of choice would be CW. Thanks to G7OCK and GM0UUB for your votes there.


It's all about being heard. What band to choose afterall I need rescued.

G7OCK gave me a good all rounder of the 20meter band. Good range, chance of skip and plenty of chances at being heard.

But we decided to stretch our thourght experiment further, afterall I'm in Distress! ZL1BOB recomended 10m (as well as getting rescued from nice island off of New Zeland) but then K6PKL Pointed out Emerengcy Locator Beacons and M1BIK Reminded us - in Emerengcy maybe and only in those most extreme situations, Remember SARS frequencys. Not legal for normal use. But in this sensrio I want rescued.

CW Key

Morse is the mode - Do I have a morse key.

Well it was decided that a morse key could be made just about out of anything that washed up from my boat. So pair of forks and a bit of string here I come.

But Wait....


Forget the radio station folks.

First of all I need to still be ALIVE!

 Now were talking Survival.

Water - I'm surrounded by salty water, what do I do.?

K6PKL Taught us how with some plastic debries, rocks and some kind of cup or container we could make a condensation catcher that would even work in the desert!. Horay I'm not going to die of thirst

Survivial Tip 2

The DX Commander antenna could also serve as a fishing rod. That one credit goes to MM3XGP.

VE6DCV Reminded us its all about the Shelter

Whats the point of having food and radio when were going to get soaked in the tropical storm and hammered by the winds or even. Baked by the Sun.

How to rescue our equipment?

KE8DLJ/M Said he had the solution. He brough his water proof bug out bag that also doubled as a flotation device. So not only do I make it to land, but so did our equipment and emerengcy supplies.

Emerengcy Supplies you all say!

Well yes as many of you said. I'm a terrible sailor and I should have been prepared. 2D0OMN, K6PKL, W2DEA, M0UKB and more all said the same thing. I should have been prepared.


So we found our lucky survival kit bag floating on the shore line, We now have flares to signal for help, light a fire to keep warm and cook the fish.

W2DEA pointed out that on any boat I should also have life preserver which would be fitted with an automated emerengcy distress beacon, one also fitted to the boat. Which as soon as i hit the water would have called for help!

So we reach the conclusion of our journey.

How did the Desert Island Ham do?


Over to M0UKB my friend and a superb scout & scout leader for the final assesment.



I may have gotten my Survivial SKills Badge, With luck my Electronics badge and maybe maybe my Communicators Badge tonight plus the Few Nights Away Badge. But with my lack of being prepared at the beginning I probbly would'nt have survived long enough to sew them on .

And That Folks was why this was so Fun!.


At the end of the day I should have been prepared. So through the magic of thourght - We wind back to the start, I'm a cross between the ultimate Scout and Bear Grylls.

I know survival. No jungle is going to keep me down.

My boat may have hit the rocks.

But I have a kick ass Radio Station, Emerengcy Rations, Water Condensation catcher, Flare's to light a fire, Fish and Coconuts.


For one night only I was Gareth GM0WUR The Desert Island Ham & Thanks to all of you - I GOT RESCUED!