The Islands on the Air program (IOTA) is an amateur radio activity program designed to encourage contacts with island stations world wide. It was created in 1964 by Geoff Watts who was a leading English short wave listener. It was taken on by the RSGB in 1985.
The ocean's islands have been grouped into 6 areas, and 1200 IOTA groups, with various qualifying islands in each. For the island chaser, the objective is to make radio contact with as many islands as possible. For the DXpeditioneer, the objective is to provide such island contacts. There are currently 21 separate certificates available for island chasers.
What islands qualify ?
For an island to qualify for IOTA, they need to meet a few simple rules regarding location….. 1. cannot lie in rivers. 2. cannot lie in inland lakes or seas, or largely enclosed bays 3. they must be a minimum distance from the mainland. 4. they must be 1 km in length or shown on a 1:1,000,000 scale map
Where do you find a list of qualifying islands ?
A full list of qualifying islands can be found in the IOTA Directory, which can be purchased online from the RSGB shop.
How to get started ?
The basic award is the IOTA 100 Islands of the World. This is where you should commence your IOTA paper chasing. You can submit your log electronically via the RSGB IOTA website. Click on the link below which will take you to the website…..
Once you have added sufficient QSO's, you will be able to see that awards you have qualified for. This will be visible at the bottom of your 'My Credits' page. Select whatever awards you are eligible for, and press 'Send application'. You will then be brought to another screen which will ask what certificate method you would prefer, e.g. PDF file or a mailed certificate. Select either 'download' or 'pst' and press 'OK'.
The next screen that you come to will specify what charges are owed and contains a submission declaration. Press 'I accept' if you agree.
You will then be brought to a 'Submission complete' page. In th QSL Card mailing list section, click on 'QSL Mailing List', and this will bring up a page which you need to print out and enclose with all of your QSL cards which are mailed off to your checkpoint.
Below is the QSL Mailing List. This is what needs to be mailed off with your cards & payment. Keep a copy for your own records. Don't forget to package your cards well, and ensure that you have added return postage so that your cards can be returned by the checkpoint.
Are there set frequencies ?
There are no frequencies exclusively reserved for IOTA activities Nominated frequencies are shared with others. Here is a list of recommended frequencies…..
14.260 (this is the main meeting frequency)
The IOTA Contest is organised by the RSGB's Contests Committee. Full details of the IOTA Contest, including the rules, can be found by clicking on the link below…..