Due to an administrative oversight in the new Falkland Islands Communications Ordinance implemented way back in 2017, new VP8 licenses for use in the former Falkland Islands Dependencies have not been available for some years now.
This has caused considerable difficulty to major DXpeditions and others wishing to operate from these remote regions, including the recent VP8PJ South Orkneys operation.
After several months of protracted negotiations with Ofcom (the UK equivalent to the FCC), the Falkland Islands Communications Regulator and the Governments of both South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands and British Antarctic Territory, there has been a major break-through and Ofcom has finally authorized the use of a new prefix for these former Dependencies as a solution to this oversight.
The new prefix is VP0 (Victor Papa Zero) and once legislation is enacted in the near future, it will be applied to the two British Overseas Territories of South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands and the British Antarctic Territory. The existing VP8 prefix will then apply exclusively to the Falkland Islands only.
The new VP0 prefix will apply to the following DXCC entities:
1. British claimed sector of the Antarctic mainland, including the Antarctic Peninsula & nearby islands
2. South Orkney Islands
3. South Shetland Islands
4. South Georgia
5. South Sandwich Islands
It is proposed that the Falkland Islands Communications Regulator will administer these licenses on behalf of the governments of British Antarctic Territory and South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands. It is also proposed that licenses under the new prefix will only be assigned three-letter suffixes (as opposed to the more usual method of first assigning callsigns with one or two-letter suffixes). For example, VP8yz would be re-assigned as VP0xyz, not the expected VP0yz. The reasons for this rather odd proposal remain unclear, given the very small number of stations active from these regions. In the meantime, all existing VP8 callsigns as previously assigned under the old Falkland Islands Communications Ordinance for use in the former Dependencies (such as VP8PJ) remain valid for use until the associated licenses are revalidated and assigned new VP0 callsigns.
For further details, see the draft policy available for download on the Government of South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands website at:
Members of the Amateur Radio community are invited to comment on the draft policy and have until 18th October to do so via a link on the webpage.
There is no information regarding the matter presently available on the British Antarctic Territory Government or Falkland Islands Communications Regulator websites.
For more details,https://www.openfalklands.com/amateur-radio-call-sign-allocation-for-british-antarctic-territory-south-georgia-and-south-sandwich-islands