Islands on the Air (IOTA) General Manager Roger Balister, G3KMA, has announced the first tranche of six new IOTA groups. Release of the new groups comes in the wake of an August solicitation for possible new groups. The new groups cover a Swedish/Finnish joint sovereignty island and groups in North America, Asia, and Oceania. All new groups have provisional numbers, which means they will need to be confirmed by an operation that takes place after 14th October 2018, that meets the 1,000 QSO and other normal validation requirements. Only after confirmation of the number will credit for past operations be considered.
EU-192P Kataja Island, Finland/Sweden (= Kataja), a split-sovereignty island located in the very north of the Gulf of Bothnia. Since the signing of a bilateral agreement in 1809, ground rise has caused the Swedish island Kataja and the smaller Finnish island Inakari to merge, forming a larger island, 2 kilometers in lenght. The border between Sweden and Finland now crosses the island, similar to Market Reef.
OC-297P Morane Atoll, Tuamotu Islands, French Polynesia (= Morane), a new “remote island” group, this was previously an outlier of the OC-113 Actaeon group, located at least 153 kilometers from Maria Est Island, the nearest island in the Tuamotu group.
NA-249P Puerto Rico Coastal Islands, Puerto Rico (= Caja de Muertos, Culebra, Culebrita, Mona, Monito, Vieques), a new “coastal islands” group, justified on the grounds that Puerto Rico is of similar size to Corsica, which has a coastal islands sub-group.
NA-250P Yakutat County Group, Coastal Groups, US (Alaska) (= Fitzgerald, Gregson, Khantaak, Knight, Kriwoi, Krutoi, Otmeloi), a new “coastal islands” group created by splitting the current NA-161 Skagway – Yakutat County group, justified on the grounds that the qualifying islands in both groups are separated by at least 250 kilometers, and the two administrative counties can be easily split.
AS-205P Bering Sea Coast East group, Koryanskiy Avtonomnyy Okrug, Russian Federation – Asia (= Yoanna Bogoslova, Vasiliya Islands), a new “coastal islands” group, created by splitting the current AS-064 Bering Sea Coast group. Bogoslova Island lies 460 kilometers away in a straight line from Verkhoturova Island, and 485 kilometers away from Karaginskiy Island, the only two island counters of this group. The Vasiliya Islands are farther away. “This distance spread in a group is quite exceptional,” Balister said. “We allowed AS-091 in a neighboring area to be split in July 2014, the separation being 500 kilometers or more.
AS-204P Kuril’skiye Islands North, Sakhalinskaya Oblast, Russian Federation – Asia (= Atlasov, Shumshu, Paramushir, Antsiferova, Makanrushi, Onekotan, Kharimkotan, Chirinkotan, Ekarma, Shiashkotan, Raikoke, Matua, Rasshua, Ushishir, Ketoy, Simushir), a new group created by splitting AS-025 Kuril’skiye Islands into two. The islands extend over a distance of more than 1,200 kilometers. “Adverse comparisons are made with the Aleutian Islands and the Hawaiian Islands, where there are many separate IOTA groups,” Balister said. “Some information sources specify the North and South Kurils as sub-groups.”
Balister said he hopes to announce a second tranche of new IOTA groups at the HAM RADIO convention in Friedrichshafen, Germany, in June 2019.