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Herne Bay based Icom (UK) Ltd aided British adventurer David Hempleman-Adams with his recent, successful attempt to cross the Arctic Circle in an open basket balloon. The company supplied, at short notice, a wide range of specialist radio communication equipment that was instrumental in the success of his adventure.

The journey that David took attempted to recapture the spirit of courage of a bygone era. His journey to the North Pole was in a traditional Roziere balloon with only a wicker basket as home. The Roziere balloon is similar to the Breitling Orbiter that went round the world in 1999, but a tenth of the size at 90,000 cubic feet. Before David took off took off from Spitsbergen in Norway he said, 'This will be the greatest and most dangerous challenge I have ever faced in over 25 years of risk- taking.' The challenge may have been dangerous but we all know that it was extremely successful and during the flight David broke and set a number of records including:

• First balloonist to fly solo across the Arctic Ocean
• First balloonist to fly solo to the North Pole
• Longest solo flight by a British balloonist at 132 hours
• Longest flight by a 90 Roziere (hybrid hot air and helium) balloon [previous record 124 hours 34 minutes]
• Altitude record for the Arctic at over 15000 feet
• Distance record for the Arctic at 1400 kms to the North Pole Ring and 2451 kms in total
• Duration record for the Arctic at 132 hours

The equipment that Icom (UK) Ltd supplied David included two HF IC-M710 GMDSS marine transceivers (which were used as the main operating transceivers between the balloon and its base in Birmingham). David also took an IC-A3E & IC-A22E VHF airband transceiver (which were to be used as an important backup to the main transceivers and eventually to communicate with the rescue helicopter.) Other equipment that the company provided were antennas, power supplies and battery cases.

Remarking on the performance of the equipment David said, ’the HF equipment worked perfectly. It is the best comms equipment I have ever used in the last 25 years. It truly was a lifesaver!

Ian Lockyer, Marketing Executive at Icom (UK) Ltd said,’ Icom are really proud of our involvement with this record breaking achievement. It has truly been a heroic feat and a great personal battle against all the elements. The IC-M710 that David used is now back from the North Pole and now sits proudly in our showroom display cabinet. I just wonder what David has planned next?’

Icom UK Marketing -


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