Going where no Dane has gone before

Radio operator Kenneth Hemstedt will be the first ever Dane to set foot on the remote Clipperton Island

Amateur radio operator Kenneth Hemstedt will become the first Dane to set foot on Clipperton Island during an expedition to the island later this month.

Hemstedt’s primary occupation on the expedition will be to set up radio stations on the remote Pacific island. If successful, the Clipperton stations will operate around the clock for ten days, allowing outside radio operations to make contact with the island.

As Hemstedt explained, setting up radio on the island is quite a feat due to its treacherous conditions. Daytime temperatures can reach up to 45 degrees and are often accompanied by torrential rain, according to the International Amateur Radio Union.

“They call Clipperton the ‘hard luck’ island of amateur radio because of the harsh weather and coral reefs surrounding it,” Hemstedt told The Copenhagen Post.

Located southwest of Mexico in the eastern Pacific Ocean, the nine square kilometre island has been uninhabited since the early 1900s. Previous attempts to establish radio operations on the island have had mixed success.

“Setting up radios on Clipperton is like finding a really rare stamp,” Hemstedt said. “It takes years of training and qualifications to even get to the island, so there’s a certain aura to it.”

Hemstedt has worked with amateur radio as a hobby and in competitions since 1982. While he enjoys the technical aspects of radio, the Copenhagen resident said he also looks forward to assisting with scientific research on the Clipperton expedition.

“We’ll also be collecting materials and data on the island’s wildlife that scientists can use for future research,” Hemstedt said. “So when I’m off duty, I hope to lend a hand with that.”

Hemstedt said it was surreal knowing that he will be the first Dane to reach Clipperton.

“It’s a strange and fascinating feeling,” he said. “I thought Danes had been everywhere already, but I guess not.”





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