- Created on Tuesday, 11 October 2011 12:36
By Steve Telenius-Lowe, 9M6DXX (G4JVG, 4W6AA)
A well-known DXer recently told me that he rarely reads DXpedition reports in radio magazines or DX clubs’ journals. He said they were all the same: “we travelled to an unusual place, we made lots of QSOs, we came back”. To some extent this is true, but what does interest me in a report about a DXpedition are the details that are particular to that particular location: the sort of information that might help me if I wanted to organise a DXpedition to the same place. This may include licensing, why the location was chosen, what went wrong, what went right. And so that is what I will concentrate on in this report. The bare facts and figures can be found in separate tables.
Licensing in Timor-Leste (East Timor) is now very straightforward indeed. It is still not widely known, but in 2008 Timor-Leste adopted the ‘Class Licence’ system, based on the Australian model. The “Instruction manual for filling AT applicant notice form”, available on the ARCOM (Timor-Leste licensing authority) website, states: “In accordance with the Class License Overseas Amateurs Visiting East Timor, 2008 Overseas Amateurs could operate an amateur station up to 90 days from their arrival to Timor-Leste without applying for Amateur License.”
What this means in practice is that any amateur can operate as 4W/own call (or own call/4W - it is not clear which standard ARCOM favours) without even having to apply for a reciprocal licence at all.
However, for this DXpedition we wanted to use a ‘proper’ 4W callsign and so three of the team members put in applications for full Timor-Leste licences, each with a choice of three requested callsigns. Here, we must thank Geoff Williams, 4W6AAD, an Australian amateur working in Dili, who took time out of his busy schedule to take our applications personally to the ARCOM office, chase up progress and, eventually, collect the completed licences for us. This whole procedure took several weeks but eventually we received our individual callsigns. We were particularly pleased that a single-letter suffix was issued for us to use on the DXpedition.
The licences were issued free of charge and are valid for one year.
Two main factors influenced our choice of location. Firstly, we had heard from several amateurs that downtown Dili had high levels of electrical noise, so we wanted to be well away from the town centre. Secondly, since we planned to use mainly vertical antennas, we wished to have access to a beach so the antennas could be located within a few metres of the ocean, thus providing us with extra low-angle gain. Although Dili is located on the north coast of the island of Timor, the main east-west road runs right along the coast, and all accommodation is on the ‘wrong’ (landward) side of this road. It would be impossible to put antennas on the beach if we were located in Dili.
We therefore looked at the island of Atauro and quickly found that it ticked all the boxes. Firstly, there was no mains electricity at all on the island, so we figured it should be electrically quiet. Secondly, the only accommodation available to visitors on Atauro, a small ‘eco lodge’ known simply as ‘Barry’s Place’, offered 150 metres of ocean frontage, allowing us to line up all our antennas along the beach at the high-tide mark.
From an amateur radio point of view, Atauro Island also had the advantage of having a separate IOTA reference from the main island of Timor. OC-232 had only been activated once before, by 4W6GH/P way back in July 2000, and had been claimed by only 17.9% of IOTA chasers prior to our operation.
Barry, the owner of the lodge, is an Australian married to a Timorese lady, and they could not have been more helpful. We were accommodated in two two-storey wooden chalets. All four stations were on the ground floor of one chalet, with one bedroom above. Four of the operators slept in the other chalet, while two operators opted to sleep in tents (also supplied by Barry).
The accommodation at Barry’s Place is basic but quite comfortable. There is a shared ‘eco-friendly’ composting toilet and an adjacent shower room. Known as a mandi, this consists of a tub filled by a natural spring, from which you scoop water over yourself. Later in the day the temperature of the stored water had risen somewhat, but at 6.30am the mandi might best be described as “invigorating”.
With no mains electricity, illumination in the shack and elsewhere is by solar lighting. This is not designed to operate continuously throughout the 12 hours of darkness though, and the lights would simply switch off at around 3.00am when they ran out of stored energy. From then until sunrise, all operating was done entirely with the light from laptop screens.
POWER SOURCE & TRANSPORTATION
The disadvantage of operating from Atauro Island was that since there was no mains electricity we had to hire generators. We hired two Honda 3kVA petrol (US: “gas”) generators in Dili at a cost of $1200 (the US dollar is also the currency of Timor-Leste).
There is a passenger ferry which runs between Dili and Atauro once or twice a week at very low cost. This is used mainly by local people to go to the weekly market on Atauro. There is also a ‘water taxi’ which runs when required but, with seven operators, around 600kg of equipment, plus the generators, it was too small for our use. We therefore had to charter a larger boat to take us to and from the island. We made arrangements for generator fuel to be sent on the water taxi when required. Petrol cost $1.90 per litre, three times the amount of petrol here in Malaysia.
One of the main reasons for choosing Atauro Island as the DXpedition location was that with no mains electricity we assumed there would be no electrical noise. Wrong! Imagine our surprise, not to say disappointment and even shock, when we first turned on the rigs and heard S9+30dB noise across the whole of 160, 80 and 40 metres!
Where could this noise possibly be coming from? It was too late to investigate on our first night, so we operated on the higher bands plus made a few QSOs with the strongest stations through the noise on 40m. Late in the night, the noise disappeared but the following day it was back again.
It took two days to track down the source of the noise. It turned out to be a Chinese-made mains inverter that Barry used from time to time to power a 220V fridge, freezer and satellite television from batteries. Grounding the inverter helped a little, but 160m was still completely unusable. Barry was as helpful as could be and agreed to switch off the inverter and use his generator instead. What a great host!
With 160 and 80m now quiet apart from the occasional static crash, we thought the local QRM problem had been solved but, the next evening, just as the East Coast of North America was being worked on 160m, a strong ‘buzzing’ noise came up on the band. This continued until after 11.00pm local time, and then went off. The next day we discovered this was the mains-powered television which was now running off Barry’s generator.
This, and an earth noise loop from our own equipment, continued to plague 160 and 80m operations for the whole DXpedition: the noise situation was what might be expected in a large city but not on a remote island with no permanent electricity supply!
Propagation conditions can only be described as “superb”, especially on the higher frequency bands. The experience of team members in VK8 and 9M6 led us to think that all the bands would be very quiet from an hour or so after sunrise until a couple of hours before sunset each day, but nothing could have been further from the truth. For the first time since the previous solar cycle, 10 and 12m really opened up, with superb signals from North America – even the east coast and Caribbean area – as well as South America, Europe and Africa.
On 15, 17 and 20m we had excellent long-path openings into Europe and all the high bands – even 10m - stayed open until well after midnight local time every night. Simply unbelievable! After sunset all nine bands from 10 to 160m were open simultaneously, but with only four stations available (and only seven operators) we had to make some difficult decisions on which bands to use. We figured that 4W was most wanted on 160, 80, 12 and 10m, so these were the bands we favoured when they were open.
Before the DXpedition we were told that no-one on the east coast of North America had ever worked 4W on 160m. John, 9M6XRO, was therefore on 160m every evening at sunset, during the very short opening to the east coast. Propagation did not play ball every night but, when there were good openings, QSOs were made with KV4FZ, N3XX, N4WW, NX4D and N4IS. Many more North American, Caribbean and South American stations were worked on 80m, both on CW and SSB, as well as Europeans and a number of stations in southern Africa.
We made over 41,000 QSOs in total: for the statistical break-down, please see the tables.
We are very grateful - and were somewhat overwhelmed - by the superb response to our request for sponsorship. A few DX clubs and foundations even volunteered sponsorship without our requesting it from them. What wonderful ham spirit!
Sincere thanks, then, go to: CDXC (Chiltern DX Club), LA DX Group, Oceania DX Group, Northern Ohio DX Association, German DX Foundation, Northern California DX Foundation, RSGB DXpedition Fund, European DX Foundation, GM DX Group, IREF (Island Radio Expedition Fund), Clipperton DX Club, Nippon DX Association, Northern Illinois DX Association, Twin City DX Association (Minnesota), Western New York DX Association and Swiss DX Foundation.
In addition, we received sponsorship from seven commercial companies and donations from around 90 private individuals before the DXpedition took place. All are thanked most sincerely: their names and callsigns can be found on our website at www.4w6a.com/sponsors
All the operators paid their own air fares from the UK, Malaysia and Australia to Timor-Leste, plus their own accommodation and food and drink costs both en route and in Timor-Leste itself. Thanks to the sponsors, though, we did not have to worry too much about the cost of shipping the bulk of the heavy equipment, including linear amplifiers, antennas and coaxial cable, from Darwin, Australia, to Dili in advance of the operation. Without the sponsors we would also have thought twice about the high cost of hiring and fuelling generators, and of transporting everything in a specially chartered boat. Finally, sponsors are helping to pay the cost of providing high-quality four-sided colour QSLs for those who worked 4W6A.
4W6A DXPEDITION TEAM
In 4W: Stuie Birkin, VK8NSB (team leader)
Oliver Bross, VK8DX
Bernd Laenger, VK2IA
Ant David, MW0JZE
Tim Beaumont, M0URX (also QSL Manager)
John Plenderleith, 9M6XRO
Steve Telenius-Lowe, 9M6DXX
Pilot: Col McGowan, MM0NDX
Assistant QSL Manager: Kev Haworth, M0TNX
3 x Elecraft K3 transceivers
1 x Elecraft K2 transceiver
2 x Elecraft KPA500 linear amplifiers
1 x Acom 1000 linear amplifier
1 x Yaesu FL-2100Z linear amplifier
160m Titanex V160E with 24 ground radials
80m Quarter-wave wire vertical on 18m Spiderbeam pole with 16 quarter-wave ground radials
40m Rippletech (Australian-made) quarter-wave ground plane with 4 elevated radials
30m Rippletech quarter-wave ground plane with 4 elevated radials
17m Rippletech quarter-wave ground plane with 4 elevated radials
15m Half-wave vertical wire dipole on 12m Spiderbeam pole
12m Half-wave vertical wire dipole on 10m Spiderbeam pole
Butternut HF6V-X vertical for 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 & 80m with 18 ground radials
G3TXQ Hexbeam (by MW0JZE) 2-eles on 10, 12, 15, 17 & 20m
STATISTICS (with thanks to Clublog www.clublog.org)
Band CW PH RTTY Total
160 508 0 0 508
80 985 1298 0 2283
40 1802 1423 0 3225
30 2422 0 0 2422
20 1448 4552 0 6000
17 2006 3018 1181 6205
15 3433 5477 27 8937
12 3472 2040 8 5520
10 2878 3383 0 6261
Totals 18954 21191 1216 41361
Continent By Band
Band 160 80 40 30 20 17 15 12 10 Total
AF 1 26 34 15 58 31 58 20 30 273
AN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
AS 200 911 1367 801 1664 2065 3400 2322 1889 14619
EU 112 360 667 616 2647 2164 3868 1358 2505 14297
NA 138 789 873 913 1317 1619 1127 1516 1376 9668
OC 57 191 229 61 235 257 400 249 373 2052
SA 0 6 55 16 79 69 84 55 88 452
Totals 508 2283 3225 2422 6000 6205 8937 5520 6261 41361
(Note: photos by Oliver Bross, VK8DX, are copyright. Permission is granted for single use with this article only. Thank you.)
- Created on Saturday, 01 October 2011 04:38
I am pleased to report that after a long journey home from Australia, I am now home and working through the thousands of QSL requests and emails.
Please be patient, if your request requires an email reply then I, and my team will get back to you soon.
Thank you for your understanding.
- Created on Saturday, 10 September 2011 20:12
After 12 months of planning, team members of 4W6A are beginning their journeys today. One of those journeys is being taken be me, so as from today the United Radio QSL Bureau will be closed until my return on 30th September. Of course you can still request your QSL cards by all routes as normal. My post will be collected from the PO Box daily. Your OQRS requests will be stored electronically on the server and the Bureau cards are being held back at the RSGB until i return home. If you have any questions, please be patient! I will reply as and when i can while I am away.
I have scheduled the posting of the OJ0UR Market Reef QSL cards for the week after my return home. So please keep your QSL requests coming!
I continue to find ways to improve your experience of the QSL exchange, many of you tell me frequently how you find my QSL services, hopefully with the introduction of the new OQRS (Online QSL Request System) by Bernd DF3CB your experience of the website should be enhanced. If there is any aspect of the United Radio QSL Bureau that you think could be enhanced please let me know, I welcome your ideas.
So what route will I be taking to get to Timor-Leste? After a two hour coach trip to London, Heathrow Airport, there is a seventeen hour flight to Darwin, NT, Australia Via Singapore. I will be traveling with Ant, MW0JZE. In Darwin we will meet up with VK8NSB, Stuie, (Team leader) VK8DX, Oliver & VK2IA Bernd, The following day we fly to Dili, Timor-Leste where we have some work to do gathering supplies, generators need to be picked up and checked, fuel, food, water all needs to be bought and then the day after on Friday 16th September the rest of the team arrive, 9M6XRO, John and 9M6DXX, Steve, fly in from their pre DXpedition warm up in Bali, Indonesia.
You can find out more about 4W6A on our website: Click here!
- Created on Thursday, 08 September 2011 15:10
PRESS RELEASE NUMBER 6: September 9, 2011
This is the sixth and final press release before the 4W6A DXpedition. The bulk of the equipment, including the linear amplifiers, the Titanex V160E vertical, Hexbeam and other antennas, left Darwin, Australia, on 6 September. It has all arrived safely in Dili, Timor-Leste, and is now awaiting the arrival of the team next week.
9M6DXX and 9M6XRO leave Malaysia on 12 September for a transit stop in Bali, from where they plan to be active 'holiday style' as YB9/G4JVG and YB9/GM3OOK respectively. Unfortunately, due to a late change of airline timetable, they will not now arrive in Dili before the afternoon of Friday 16 September. The chartered boat taking the team and the equipment to Atauro Island has therefore been rescheduled to later that afternoon.
It is likely that only one or two stations will be on the air that day as the team will run out of daylight before all the antennas can be erected. The remainder of the antenna work will commence at first light the following morning (approximately 2115UTC on 16 September) and 4W6A should be fully operational by the morning (UTC) of 17 September.
We look forward to having fun in the pile-ups and we hope you have fun
chasing 4W6A. 73, The 4W6A Team.
- Created on Wednesday, 07 September 2011 00:00
John, 9M6XRO, and Steve, 9M6DXX, will be operating 'holiday style' as YB9/GM3OOK and YB9/G4JVG from Bali (OC-022) from 12 to 15 September on a stopover while on their way to Timor-Leste for the 4W6A DXpedition.
Activity will be part time but on all bands 6 to 80m using CW and RTTY (YB9/GM3OOK) and SSB (YB9/G4JVG) using 100W to beam antennas.
QSL both YB9/GM3OOK and YB9/G4JVG via M0URX, direct, bureau, LoTW and OQRS.
- Created on Friday, 02 September 2011 19:45
Germany 629 QSL cards
Japan 550 QSL cards
Poland 394 QSL cards
France 342 QSL cards
Other 40 QSL cards
The M0URX OQRS (Online QSL Request System) is the easiest and fastest way for you to request your DIRECT and your BUREAU QSL cards. I post to all Bureaus here at least every 3 months.
Remember - You can log into the OQRS with your call sign and email address, you can check on when your request has been processed.
Remember - It does not matter if you worked 1 or 20 bands slots with one station, that counts as one QSL card.
- Created on Monday, 22 August 2011 06:12
PRESS RELEASE NUMBER 5 – August 22, 2011 WWW.4W6A.COM
The 4W6A DXpedition is now less than one month away. Low-band operators will be pleased to hear that the team now has a Titanex V160E 87ft / 26.5m-high vertical antenna for use on 160m at 4W6A. The antenna was shipped from the manufacturers in Germany and has arrived in Darwin, Australia, from where it will be trans-shipped to Dili, Timor-Leste, later this month.
The team had previously planned to use an 18m Spiderbeam pole as the support for a 160m inverted-L. With the arrival of the Titanex vertical, the 18m Spiderbeam pole will now be used for a full-size 80m quarter-wave folded monopole vertical instead.
Other antennas include monoband quarter-wave verticals for 40, 30 and 17m kindly sponsored by Tony Burt, VK3TZ, of Rippletech Electronics in Australia, a 2-element phased array for 40m, an Australian-made Com-an-tena vertical for 10, 15 and 20m, a Butternut HF6V, a 15m vertical dipole, and a G3TXQ Hexbeam made by team member Ant David, MW0JZE. All the antennas will be located on the beach within a few metres of the ocean.
Thanks to the generous sponsorship received from many DX foundations, clubs and individual DXers, it has become possible to ship much of the heavier equipment to Dili, Timor-Leste, in advance of the expedition.
The team is very grateful to all DX groups, companies and individuals that have sponsored the expedition. All are listed with thanks on the 4W6A website at www.4w6a.com/sponsors
4W6A will be QRV from Atauro Island (IOTA OC-232), Timor-Leste (East Timor), from 16 to 26 September 2011. Activity will be on all bands 10 to 160 metres, using CW, SSB and RTTY with up to four stations simultaneously. The QSL manager is M0URX, direct (SAE plus 1 IRC / $2), via the bureau, or LoTW. The entire log will be uploaded to LoTW as quickly as possible after the end of the operation or, if possible, also during the DXpedition. Direct or bureau QSLs may also be requested using the M0URX Online QSL Request Service (OQRS) at http://m0urx.com/oqrs (there is also a link from the 4W6A website at www.4w6a.com/qsl-information).
4W6A Team Member
- Created on Saturday, 20 August 2011 07:12
I am pleased to announce that the new OQRS (Online QSL Request System) has gone live!
I would like to thank Bernd, DF3CB on behalf of us all for allowing to use this superb new system that he developed for DXpeditions and other users. Thank you Bernd for your collaboration.
Thanks also to Oliver, VK8DX for your involvement in getting this live!
Status of your Request - The new OQRS will not require me to email confirmation of every OQRS received, this will save a huge amount of time. Instead the DXer can log into the OQRS with their callsign and email address to see that the OQRS has been "Processed" or will be status "Open" . Just how good is that!
If you do encounter any teething problems of the new OQRS please report them to me using the "Contact M0URX" page in the Menu.
Sending Direct or using OQRS & Paypal, here are the costs
1 QSL only by post = US $2 or 1 x IRC or Paypal 2 Euros. OQRS
Multi QSL Direct - If you need to request more QSL cards take advantage of my Multi QSL offer.
As some of you DX and QSL as a group or friends, to reduce costs this may help you.
2 to 4 QSL's by post = US $3 or 2 x IRC or Paypal 3 Euros. OQRS
5 to 10 QSL's by post = US $5 or 3 x IRC or Paypal 5 Euros. OQRS
11 to 20 QSL's by post = US $7 or 5 x IRC or Paypal 7 Euros. OQRS
21 to 30 QSL's by post = US $12 or 10 x IRC or Paypal 10 Euros. OQRS
Remember - It does not matter if you worked 1 or 20 bands slots with one station, that counts as one QSL card.
For Example: 5 QSOs with MS0INT and 5 QSOs with OJ0UR = 2 x QSL cards.
Tim Beaumont, M0URX.
- Created on Saturday, 13 August 2011 11:48
LoTW and Club Log uploaded 18,210 Qs.
Log can be searched at Club Log.
LoTW users are reporting to me that some QSO matches have not appeared. This is beyond my control. LoTW seems to be taking from a few minutes to several days to match QSO's and some are just not appearing. Please be patient. If a match has not appeared in a few days please contact me then, or contact LoTW and report the problem. Thank you.
The team report very slow internet connection. I will upload LoTW and Club Log as often as the team can send me the ADIF.
REMEMBER the log is NOT live! It is updated as and when the internet line can transfer the data.
- Created on Saturday, 13 August 2011 10:48
The United Radio DX Team will be QRV from Market Reef from 13th - 20th August 2011.
Team Leader, Max ON5UR will be joined by PA5R Jelmer, PD9DX Dervin & ON8AK Mark.
"Extra kilograms are often a big problem on airplanes. So we decide that Dervin and Jelmer will transport our equipment via land. A trip through Belgium (ON), The Netherlands (PA), Germany (DL), Denmark (OZ), Sweden (SM) and Aland Islands (OH0).
Mark and Max will fly from Brussels Belgium (ON) to Helsinki Finland (OH). Later that day we fly from Helsinki Finland (OH) to Mariehamn - Aland Islands (OH0).
The day after (Saturday 13 August) a small private boat will take us and our equipment to Market Reef. We cross our fingers for good weather, so that the boat trip is possible and that we have a safe landing at Market Reef. If the weather permits, the boat will pick us up again Saturday 20 August."
- Created on Tuesday, 02 August 2011 14:03
The design for the YJ8A, Efate Island, OC-035, Vanuatu QSL has now been completed.
The YJ8A QSL will be posted in Early September. QSL Via M0URX
- Created on Tuesday, 02 August 2011 12:14
I was extremely disturbed this afternoon by some hate messages sent on the cluster and demanding that P29CS goes split. The messages were nasty and very upsetting! The poster of the massages was hiding behind a fake call sign, not even man enough to own up to his actions. A coward! This once again shows how ignorant people can be.
P29CS is NOT a DXpedition, is NOT wanting a pile up but purely making a few QSO's while he has time by the transceiver and wants to have a QSO with the station that he works. If he wants to work SIMPLEX that is HIS choice. Making stupid demands and sending hate messages must STOP NOW!
Your messages will be tracked and we WILL find the person responsible!
- Created on Friday, 22 July 2011 23:56
387 letters posted Worldwide. Plus 109 letters posted 02/08/2011.
1978 QSL cards posted to the following World Bureaus direct.
Germany 546 cards.
Italy 145 cards.
Spain 285 cards.
Japan 100 cards.
Ukraine 397 cards.
USA 100 cards.
Russia 405 cards.
All above posted 23/07/2011.
- Created on Tuesday, 05 July 2011 19:52
Andy is now on his way home Via VK3.
- Created on Tuesday, 05 July 2011 05:45
SEPTEMBER 16 – 26, 2011 http://www.4w6a.com
PRESS RELEASE NUMBER 4 – July 5, 2011
The 4W6A team welcomes Bernd Länger, VK2IA, as the seventh and final member of the DXpedition. Bernd has joined the DXpedition in order to help balance the requirement for CW operation. He brings a wealth of DXpedition and contesting experience from Europe and the Asia-Pacific area.
CDXC (Chiltern DX Club – the UK DX Foundation), the RSGB DXpedition Fund, the German DX Foundation, the Northern California DX Foundation, the European DX Foundation, the Nippon DX Association and the Northern Illinois DX Association are the latest DX clubs and foundations that are kindly providing financial support for the DXpedition. The team is very grateful to all DX groups, companies and individuals who have offered sponsorship. All are listed with thanks on the 4W6A website at http://www.4w6a.com/sponsors.html If you or your DX club also wish to help, there is a "Donations" page on the 4W6A website. Payments may be made by credit or debit card and you do not need to have a PayPal account yourself in order to make a donation.
4W6A will be QRV from Atauro Island (IOTA OC-232), Timor-Leste (East Timor), from 16 to 26 September 2011. Activity will be on all bands 10 to 160 metres, using CW, SSB and RTTY. The QSL manager is M0URX, direct (SAE plus 1 IRC / $2), via the bureau, or LoTW. The entire log will be uploaded to LoTW as quickly as possible after the end of the operation or, if possible, even during the DXpedition. QSLs may also be requested using the QSL request form on the website.
Written by 9M6DXX, Steve Telenius-Lowe.
- Created on Monday, 04 July 2011 19:39
Work has been ongoing here at the QSL managers office collecting the images and the text for the QSL cards from the recent IOTA DXpeditions from June. Thanks to Max ON5UR for designing the QSL cards for us once again.
Direct QSL cards will be posted in July
MS0INT/P EU-111 Monach Isles. 2,100 QSO's were made from Eilean Hesgeir. Invoker Team.
MS0INT EU-059 St Kilda Archipelago. 9,300 QSO's were made from Hirta. Invoker Team.
MS0RSD EU-008 Isle of Skye. 2,700 QSO's were made by Dudley & District Amateur Radio Society.
MC0SHL EU-124 Ramsey Island. 6,000 QSO's were made by Strumble Head DX & Contest Group.
- Created on Sunday, 26 June 2011 19:08
I received the news today from DX-World,net that it was announced at Friedrichshafen, Germany during the Ham Radio fair that i had been voted joint 3rd place by CQ-DL Magazine readers for Outstanding QSL-Service to the DX-community. DL2VFR Ric explains:
"During this forum the annual “QSL-TÜV” for outstanding QSL-Service to the DX-community (determined by readers of CQ-DL-Magazine) was awarded to –
1st place GDXF-QSL-Service (DK8UH),
2nd place to DL7AFS and G3TXF,
3rd place W3HNK and MØURX."
Thanks to those readers that voted for M0URX, i can tell you that when I decided to go into QSL managing, I wanted to do it differently to other QSL managers, provide a faster more efficient service and give the DX'ers what they want from a QSL Service / Bureau.
It is a team effort without that team the service is NIL. Firstly there are the guys that i am QSL manager for, they are the DXpeditioners. they provide me with accurate logs and regular updates.
Then there is Oliver the IT guy, he has played a huge role in the team by modernising my IT capabilities, this work is ongoing as we have a new OQRS system to install and Oliver is again working on this one.
Then there is ON5UR, Max the printer, who works on the design for the QSL cards and printing.
MW0JZE, Anthony our Ink dealer. Without his Ink at a good price I cant print the labels.
G4VPD, Mike the office business supplier who supplies me with labels and envelopes and all things for the office.
Also not forgetting all the volunteer Bureau workers around the globe that sort to get the cards to you.
So as you see, when M0URX is mentioned, it is the whole team that provide you with this outstanding service!
- Created on Thursday, 23 June 2011 12:43
I wold like to thank Col MM0NDX for writing this report on the recent Expeditions to Monach Islands and St Kilda Archipelago. Thanks also to the team for allowing us to use your photographs.
By Col, MM0NDX
When a DXpedition ends, the question is often asked "Where do we go next?". With MS0INT 2011, the question could easily be "Where do we start"?!
A starting Point
In writing this piece, I knew well in advance that it would be long and needed a starting point; so let's begin on June 13, 2011. That morning I arrived in Benbecula, Outer Hebrides three full days in advance of MS0INT beginning activities. Lots of things needed done before the team assembled, namely collecting a mountain of gear stored at the local community hall in Berneray isle, filling petrol containers, getting familiar with the roads (and passing places) all over the Uists. Speaking of roads, to say the 16 seat hire bus we had was antiquated is an understatement, although in fairness, it did get us to all intented destinations - with gear stored at the back end of the bus, we did look like a group of New Age travellers!
Team arrive in Benbecula
By June 14th, Vincent F4BKV arrived in Benbecula, fresh from his mini GM-IOTA tour (EU012, EU009, EU123) which would coincide with joining team MS0INT. Immediately upon arrival, he and I set off to South Uist island (EU-010) and activated from a superb spot with the sea almost under us. 200+ QSO's were quickly made from here before heading to North Uist and finally ending the days activity as MM0NDX/P & MM/F4BKV from our base on Berneray isle.
CQ from EU-010
Vincent briefly activated Isle of Benbecula on Wednesday June 15th as we waited on the plane arriving with the rest of the team. Simon IZ7ATN and his XYL Monica were to arrive later that day, so after meeting and greeting, EA3NT, EA3OR, EA5KA, EI6DX, F4BKV and MM0NDX all set off to Baleshare, EU010 where various MM/ home callsigns were used. Although part of the vast EU-010 group, Baleshare as a seperate island, has not been activated often. The CW pileup especially reflected this. Later that day, we returned to the airport and collected Simon & Monica. Next stop was the supermarket where we'd individually stock up on groceries for the upcoming EU111 and EU059 activations. MM/IZ7ATN and MM/EI6DX were both active that evening from the hostel on Berneray isle, our base before departing for Monachs the following day.
The vessel to Monachs EU111 was Lady Anne, a converted fishing boat. Nick, the skipper, was the man to take us to EU111. This particular voyage was rough as we fought against a spring tide, 5m swell and exposed sandbanks. In talking to Nick, he confirmed that was one of the worst passages he had ever done. Sick bags testified to that! After 90 mins at sea, the Monachs, and the Old Schoolhouse there, came into view. Thankfully, the bay where we landed was sheltered from a roaring Atlantic.
Unloading all our equipment, food and personal items was time consuming. Indeed, one of the two tenders used to ferry our gear to the beach started to capsize with Ramon EA3OR in it, primarily due to the skipper over-loading and the crewman's inexperience in rowing ashore. A near disaster with the generator and radios was averted as the tender slowly sunk. Four of us rushed out knee deep to retrieve these important items before the sea swallowed them! Once everything was transported to the beach, and with the weather being glorious, we decided to quickly erect an HF antenna and get on air. Simon IZ7ATN started on 10m as MS0INT/P, then onto 20m. Pileups were good and steady. The plan was to base ourselves at the same QTH as GS3PYE/P had done one year prior. This we did, but no way would we sleep in the old schoolhouse such was the utterly ridiculous state it had been left in by passing fishermen. Tents outside, stations inside. We operated 20 and 40m from EU111. Generator issues caused huge problems for the team and, in hindsight, we did extremely well to make over 2000 QSO's from here in under 18 hours. One of the sponsored IC7000's also had a display problem, fortunately back up rigs were taken. We were scheduled to leave Monachs at 0900 local next day.
On Friday, June 17th, Seaumas Morrison of Sea Harris boat charters collected us on the Enchanted Isle, a 42ft Interceptor vessel. Let's be charitable and say the difference between landing Monachs to leaving was like night and day, such was the smoothness of Seumas' operation. Hundreds of curious seals watched our every movement as we departed the scene - wonderful moments captured by the offical team photographer, Monica.
From EU111 to EU059 takes just under three hours at a steady 18kts. The weather was fantastic to St Kilda, but changed rapidly as we approached the magnificent sea stacs and the towering Boreray (3km north of Hirta, the main island in the chain). Squally showers pounded the sea as we landed in a south easterly wind; the "worst kind" of wind direction for a Hirta landing we were told. Nevertheless, we landed quickly, in heavy rain, with all gear intact and on the pier ready for transportation some 250m above. It is at this point, I can't thank enough the people involved in permitting us to 1) operate at height from Hirta, 2) assist in transporting all kit to the top - you know who you are!
Flying Tent over Village Bay
At 250m above Village Bay, the view is spectacular, but only on a good, clear day. We all gathered together in a howling wind and rain, probably all thinking the same: "Why do we do these IOTA"? Team morale comes to the fore in these situations, and it was high. Pitching tents, to keep items dry, was a challenge. Hats off (literally) to Raul EA5KA and Ramon EA3OR in quickly erecting the first tent, weighted down by luggage just to keep it in place. The large tunnel tent, to be used as the operating shack, with room for eight people, proved extremely difficult to erect on the plateau of Mullach Sgar. Initially, we attempted to pitch it on a field deemed suitable by NTS, but this was an accident waiting to happen. Had we not decided to move the tent behind the outbuilding of the now seemingly disused Ministry of Defence second radar base, I firmly believe it would have flown. Indeed, my own tent, when pitching, did just this! Thankfully, Simon and Monica brought a spare tent!
CQ from EU-059 St Kilda Archilpelago
Once the shack tent was finally erected and secured, we got to work in setting up stations, antennas and our own sleeping tents. In a move to surprise IOTA chasers, we decided to open proceedings on 30m CW, and not the usual 14260 IOTA freq. Christain EA3NT started up from EU-059. Axel, DL6KVA was first in the log. After a few CQ's, it was apparent MS0INT appeared on the Dx cluster and the fun then commenced. Soon 17, 20 and 30m were all on air. It should be pointed out that although the tent appeared to be sheltered a little, it was still very much "bouncing" in the cold south easterly gale - it was difficult operating conditions in more ways than one. Working throughout the night, +1000 QSO's were quickly attained. [
Saturday, June 18th was a truly beautiful day. Sunny, warm, clear. We were informed by island staff to be on the look-out for blue whales in the ocean below. Operations continued with very many contacts being logged. JA were being easily worked on 17 & 20m. Outwith Rockall EU-189, we knew Japanese IOTA chasers needed St Kilda next on their most wanted list. It was very pleasing to see so many calls enter the logs. Additionally, NA/SA chasers were being worked with great aplomb - if heard, you were worked. The 40 and 80m vertical was installed in the afternoon, same with the 6m yagi. On 50Mhz, mainly south EU was logged - conditions never good enough to contact more from this rare counter. An excellent run to NA/SA ensued on 20m that evening. Reference must be made to the fact our main generator, similar to on Monachs, stopped working. Thankfully, our back-up generator performed admirably.
Suddenly, and with no warning, the weather changed rapidly - again the wind picked up, like a carbon copy of the previous night. It was a relentless bombardment, captured on video for posterity! How the shack tent survived, we'll never know. A few snapped poles inside confirmed the wind was more than strong. The 30m vertical was downed - large rocks used in tying antenna ropes were being tossed to one side, and this was a summer gale! I can only imagine the severe winter storms battering St Kilda. Despite the often adverse weather, we continued at a good rate working the world. EU-059 was becoming less wanted for many - the real reason behind this IOTA expedition. During the peak of operations three HF stations and 6m were on air.
The scenery and wildlife on Hirta, St Kilda confirms why the archipelago is only one of 25 UNESCO listed locations around the world for natural beauty and heritage. Lord Howe island, including Balls Pyramid, to put in context, is one of the other listed locations. Monica took some memorable photos for sure. The QSL card depicts her work.
Sunday, June 19th. With thousands of QSO's already in the log, we continue hard to work all stations calling us. Propagation was mixed; not poor, not great is one way of describing it. However, this was the one day the wind didn't arrive - and very grateful we were too! 40 & 80m was prime focus during the evening, with 20 & 17 also going well. PSK31, like the previous day, was also in use by Vincent F4BKV. We had plans to tear down the station gradually during Sunday as we had to leave the island by 0900 latest next morning. However, it was decided to keep going right through until daybreak Monday, to maximise the chances of all who called to enter our logbook.
At 0351z, Monday June 20th, the last station, UY7QF, was worked by Stan EI6DX (Pictured left) on EU-059. In 75 hours of operating time as MS0INT/P & MS0INT, we managed to make 11496 QSO's.
Although the end of transmissions had ceased, we were not without drama as we packed up and descended the steep road back to Village Bay. We had taken two bikes with us. Unfortunately, Ramon EA3OR fell off one of the bikes on the way down and sustained an injury. It wasn't until the expedition was over, it transpired he had broken his hand. With also nearly capsizing in the tender at Monachs, you could say Ramon had an eventful journey!
There is only one logical target for MS0INT next year subject to substantial fund raising, and weather/sea conditions permitting. It's a little further west than St Kilda. I'm sure you can guess where our thoughts have turned to!
With many thanks to all sponsors listed on our website in making this expedition happen. Special mention to Andrew Ross on Berneray - you're a star! Thanks too to our webmaster and twitter updater, Niko DD1MAT.
QSL cards for MS0INT and MS0INT/P go via M0URX.
- Created on Tuesday, 21 June 2011 20:08
- Created on Sunday, 19 June 2011 15:43
Well done once again to Bob Locher, W9KNI overall winner of the 2010 CQ DX Marathon. Bob worked 285 of the 291 countries available in the 2010 Challenge and with 40 CQ Zones was top with a score of 325. I have to say that I read his book "A Year of DX" last year and was myself inspired to take part in the 2010 Marathon. It was tough, very tough and to my surprise I came 2nd in the World in the SSB Mode category.
Call Sign Countries Zones Score
1st N3CDA 246 40 286 Certificate Winner
2nd M0URX 243 40 283 (73rd overall)
3rd PY2ADR 234 40 274
For me this is a massive achievement, as I only have a 2up, 2 down terraced plot of land. The only antenna I have is a G3TXQ-Broadband Hexbeam (built by MW0JZE) which is mounted on a 12m Tennamast type mast at the back of the house. Only 6m through to 20m and no LF antennas here. (Waiting till I retire hahah to venture down there)
So it goes to show that you do not need to have an array of towers with Yagi's at varying heights to compete with some of the top DX'ers in the World. Being a postman I am quite often told I am lucky to have the afternoons to myself which last year enabled me to be on air and work some pretty nice DX while many where probably still at the office watching the cluster from work... (Yes I mean you Neil hehe sorry)
However this may sound very familiar to some of you. I did notice that the Challenge becomes extremely addictive, so much so that you end up towards the end of the week planning your weekend NOT by the social events, or the family but "what is on the bands, who, what and where" Just how sad is that?
Deciding you can't go to the wedding of your colleague from work because T32AJ is on air and the long path opening at tea time when the wedding reception starts is your only chance of picking that DXCC up this year! Yes, I can see you sniggering over there, because you know it's true!
This year I will be out of the running, the QSL work has kept me busy and has reduced my band tuning down to being a cluster tart. Take part in the CQ Marathon Challenge, it really is great fun.
- Created on Friday, 17 June 2011 11:24
MS0INT St Kilda EU-059
June 17-20: St Kilda Archipelago, EU-059 activity until latest 0800UTC on June 20th. Callsign: MS0INT.
Three HF stations CW/SSB + 50Mhz. Sponsored by ICOM UK.
St Kilda Is an isolated archipelago 64 kilometres (40 mi) west-northwest of North Uist in the North Atlantic Ocean. It contains the westernmost islands of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The largest island is Hirta, whose sea cliffs are the highest in the United Kingdom. St Kilda was awarded Dual World Heritage Status in 2005 making it one of only a few places in the world in recognition of its natural and cultural significance. Getting to St Kilda is not easy.
Col MM0NDX confirmed to me that the exact QTH is Mullach Sgar the 2nd lowest radar station and is WAB area NF09
Please be aware that MS0INT EU-059 & MS0INT/P EU-111 will be TWO separate QSL cards check QSL INFO before posting. Insufficient postal costs will be sent Via Bureau.
LoTW & online log search will be uploaded when the logs arrive here.
The team report at 1800z on the 19th that 8,500 QSO's logged so far.
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