What is IOTA?
In order for an island to qualify for this program it needs to meet certain criteria. It must be at least a certain size, all or portions of it must be above sea level at all times, and it needs to be in “open water” of an ocean or sea and not enclosed by land. This prevents river islands in the Mississippi or islands in lake Michigan from being considered, for example.
Islands in the program are numbered and categorized by the continent they are near. The continent provides the “prefix” so North American islands are prefaced with “NA-“ and European islands are prefaced with “EU-“. Each island is then assigned a three digit number. The full list of islands for North American may be found here. Links to the lists for the other continents may be found at the top of that page.
Going to an island and operating from it is called “activating the island”. At this point, I have activated three islands:
- Hawaii (OC-019)
- St. John USVI (NA-106)
- Deer Isle, Maine (NA-055)
None of these islands are particularly exotic, though I had a really great time going there and playing radio. There are some islands that
My Trips are a great deal more modest than that! Still, when I activate an island I give other ham radio operators a chance to talk with this island, add it to their list of islands they have worked (which can subsequently be applied toward awards the RSGB offers in this program), and give them a chance to get a pretty cool QSL card that I design myself for each island activation.
I would like to encourage anybody who thinks this sounds interesting to check out the RSGB IOTA web site. Being familiar with the program will also help you get the most out of this blog since many of my planned personal DXpeditions are going to be to islands associated with this program.