KP1 – Navassa Island, Navassa

Dates: 28 March to 2 April 1993

Callsign: W5IJU/KP1 and NF6S/KP1

KP1 – Navassa Island, Navassa 2024-04-06T14:55:47-05:00

We were a group of nine operators being organized by our leader Vance, W5IJU, (I learned in 2005 that he is now silent key.) We set up two camps, the upper camp was in the lighthouse ruins which had been nicknamed by hams a long time ago as the Navassa Hilton. The lower camp was down by Lulu Bay and the famous ladder. Each camp had it’s own 5000 watt generator.

The operators at the upper camp were: Vance, W5IJU, team leader Don, VE1AOE, our satellite guy Bob, KØIYF (now NØRN), he loved 160 Dave, KB4VLO (now N9DI), a friendly southern voice Dave, WJ2O, a general nuisance

The lower camp operators were: Larry, NF6S (now W4UAT), excellent CW op. Jun, JH4RHF (also KH2S), pile-up expert Kumiko, JR4DUW (also KH2W), 1st YL on KP1 Toshi, JR8RUZ, digital modes

​We had a Jamaican crew who did an excellent job of getting us there, ferrying equipment to the island and toting it up the hill. They also prepared our meals.

The Navassa Hilton

The Navassa Hilton

Getting There

Ship Captain

Ship´s Captain.



Larry, NF6S

Larry, NF6S

Inside ship

Vance, W5IJU (SK), Toshi, JR8RUZ, Kumiko, JR4DUW

Having a rest on ship


The Island from the Ship

The Island from the Ship


small boat

This small boat tendered us from the ship to the ladder

Climbing ladder from boat

At the ladder


How the ladder was attached

Life On The Island

chef cooking on Island

Our chef

Don, VE1AOE resting

Don, VE1AOE resting

Graffiti on wall

Graffiti were everywhere

Inside The Navassa Hilton

Inside The Navassa Hilton

The amaican crew

Our Jamaican crew.

The Navassa Lighthouse

Navassa Lighthouse

Jun and Kumiko

Jun , JH4RHF and Kumiko, JR4DUW

Lower camp on Island

Lower camp.

Trail to the lower camp on Island

Trail to the lower camp.

Vance on Island

Vance, W5IJU (SK).


Signing the sign…


WJ2O Shack. Kenwood TS-940 Transceiver, Tandy 1400 HD Laptop Computer, Heathkit Micromatic Keyer

Our loyal generator

Electricity generator



Bob operating

Bob, KØIYF (now NØRN)

Bob and Dave operating

Bob, KØIYF (now NØRN) and Dave, KB4VLO (now N9DI).

Dave operating

Dave, KB4VLO (now N9DI).

Dave operating with Vance

Dave, KB4VLO (now N9DI) and Vance, W5IJU (SK)

Don Operating


Bob operating the system

Bob, KØIYF (now NØRN)

Dave operating the system

Dave, WJ2O

W5IJU/KP1 and NF6S/KP1 QSL Card

QSL Card front
QSL Card back


As Navassa is a US possession, there was no need to obtain licensing for the US operators. Our Canadian operator had no problem either as we have a reciprocal agreement with Canada that is automatic. The Japanese operators had all previously flown to Guam and passed their US Extra Class exam there. They each had a KH2 call.

The Ladder:

Many old time hams may remember there was a ladder that you used to scale the cliff face to get on the surface of the island. It has been rumored that since our visit, the ladder has been removed. Below is details of what it once was.


The KP1 Navassa Ladder

Trip Statistics Report

Operating Equipment


We had many stations set up on this island. Here is the equipment I used: Kenwood TS-940 Transceiver Tandy 1400 HD Laptop Computer Heathkit Micromatic Keyer Bob, KØIYF, strung a wire up to the top of the lighthouse that we spread out in a delta loop fashion that worked excellent for my antenna.

Paper logging

The upper camp SSB guys did paper logging. I haven’t found any volunteers willing to keyboard them. So, here they are still in paper form. If you find yourself in the log tell my QSL manager which log and which page and you’ll get a QSL.

W5IJU/KP1 Logs from 29 March 1993

W5IJU/KP1 Logs from 30 March 1993

W5IJU/KP1 Logs from 31 March 1993

W5IJU/KP1 Logs from 1 April 1993

W5IJU/KP1 Logs from 2 April 1993

W5IJU/KP1 Logs from 2 April 1993

Also on that weekend was the CQ WW WPX Contest and here are those logs: W5IJU/KP1 Contest Logs from 27 and 28 March 1993

Group photo aboard ship just as we’re saying “good bye” to Jamaica in the background.

Leaving Jamaica

From the left: Don (VE1AOE), Bob (K0IYF), Larry (NF6S now W4UAT), Vance (W5IJU team leader now SK), Dave (KB4VLO now N9DI), Toshi (JR8RUZ), Dave (WJ2O), Jun (JH4RHF) and Kumiko (JR4DUW).
Photo was provided by Larry, NF6S.


Most of our participants travelled together and entered customs as a group. Apparently it overwhelmed the customs officials who ended up confiscating most all the equipment putting it in lock-up. It took 3 days of negotiations (using greenbacks) to get it back. That’s why we had a late start for the island.

I happened to travel individually and although I had lots of questions during the customs inspection, I was allowed to pass with everything in hand.