CQ WPX SSB 9M8Z

qsl-9m8zSteve, 9M6DXX will be operating again as 9M8Z in the CQ WPX SSB contest next weekend. Activity will be all bands, but concentrating on 15, 20 and 40m.

I will also be active on SSB only for three days following the contest and should, all being well, have access to some good antennas, particularly on 15m and 80m. These are a 15m 7-element monoband Yagi, fixed on Europe, and a rotatable 80m dipole at 130ft above ground.

73, Steve, 9M6DXX / 9M8Z

QSL Via M0URX

CY9M Update Report

CY9M-logo-for-websiteAs is now commonly known already via most social media outlets, the callsign for the 2012 St Paul Island Dxpedition is *CY9M*.

Since the first press release, progress continues at a fast rate of knots. It’s clear to see, with clubs and organisations joining our project, that demand for this DXCC entity is significantly higher than many operators perhaps realise. We thank each and everyone who supports this exciting expedition.

The website is now launched. Credit indeed to the team behind DX Coffee<http://www.dxcoffee.com/eng/>for
this important aspect of the CY9M journey. You may want to use the logo (designed by Jen, wife of team member AB5EB) for your personal website and support.

Twitter will also be used by various team members as we traverse – join and follow us.

Website: *http://www.cy9m.com/*
Twitter: *https://twitter.com/#!/CY9M*

(Editor) United Radio QSL Bureau are proud to be associated with this project. You can be sure that we will be working hard to give the team the support they need following this expedition.

TN2T QSL

QSL-TN2T-2

TN2T QSL cards have arrived from the print room. Cards have been posted over a few days.

24/02/2012 502 letters posted European Union.
25/02/2012 500 letters posted Rest of World.
27/02/2012 1,172 letters posted for Japan & USA.
GDXF & DDXG Sponsor packages posted

Letters & OQRS that arrived in the last 3 days will be sorted and posted during the next few days.

United Radio QSL Bureau have a number of IRC's For Sale worldwide.

9M8Z Sarawak East Malaysia - CQ WPX SSB

qsl-9m8z
Steve, 9M6DXX, will be operating as 9M8Z from Sarawak (DXCC East Malaysia, IOTA OC-088) once again from 23 to 28 March, including a single-operator all-band high-power entry in the CQ WPX SSB contest on 24 / 25 March.


QSL via Tim, M0URX, direct (SAE plus $2 or 1 new IRC), via the bureau, LoTW, or OQRS (see m0urx.com/oqrs).

73, Steve, 9M6DXX / 9M8Z

St Paul Island CY9M - 2012

Aerial-view-of-St-Paul-Island-400x271Press Release #1
St Paul Island is called the ”Graveyard of the Gulf” and that is where an international, seasoned team of DXers will be heading to later this year.

Plans are well under way for a 10-man team to activate this now wanted DXCC entity, which was last on air in 2005. When you consider most needed entities (perhaps out with the Top 10) are activated every five years or so, it is now time to mount a serious effort from CY9.

Most operators will be unaware that in 2010, St Paul Island became the highest mover on DX Magazines most wanted list; from #77 to #47. Today, according to that list and ClubLog, CY9 is more needed than entities such as Tokelau (ZK3) or PY0T (Trindade & Martim Vaz).

The team consists of Mike AB5EB, Oscar EA1DR, George EA2TA, Christian EA3NT, Simon IZ7ATN, Col MM0NDX, Bjorn SM0MDG, Vicky SV2KBS, Steve VA3FM and Kevin VE3EN.

From late July to early August, IOTA contest included, the group will be active all bands, modes (160-2m) with special attention on 6m and 160m if propagation allows.

A website is currently under construction and will be ready in a few short weeks where much more info can be found.

QSL manager for the expedition is M0URX. For more information click CY9M

TN2T QSL

QSL-TN2T-2Work is continuing with TN2T, all direct letters received have been processed through the log, with OQRS requests being processed at the same time.

Max ON5UR has designed the QSL card which has now been printed and due to arrive here on 22nd February. QSL cards will be posted soon after.

LoTW has already been uploaded shortly after the DXpedition.

V85/9M8Z Brunei Darussalam

QSL-V85-9M8ZSteve 9M6DXX writes "I will be QRV as V85/9M8Z from Brunei (IOTA OC-088) from around 0900UTC on Friday 10 February until about 0100UTC on Monday 13 February. Activity will be on 10 - 80m, SSB only, using a Butternut HF6-V vertical on top of the hotel roof over 100ft high. On 80m I plan to use a quarter-wave inverted-L with elevated radials, also around 100ft high. Sunrise in Brunei is at 2236UTC, sunset at 1033UTC. QSL via M0URX direct (with SAE and $2 or 1 new IRC), bureau, OQRS or LoTW.
Logs will be uploaded to LoTW within a day or two of the operation concluding."

73, Steve, 9M6DXX / 9M8Z

Aurora over Faroe Islands

OY1OF Ólavur Frederiksen this week reports that the strong Aurora made some quite specacular views on Faroe Islands. Thanks for sharing these beautiful images.
Photographs courtesy of Ólavur Frederiksen.
22jan12_2I4B766822jan12_2I4B7673

























22jan12_2I4B7672

TN2T 22nd - 31st January 2012

TN2T DXpedition  to the Republic of Congo will be QRV 22nd to 31st January 2012. QSL Via M0URX with full OQRS and Paypal services from the team. TN2T

QSL Services Available

Are you a DXpeditoner in the United Kingdom?
If you are a DXpeditioner planning an overseas expedition this year or a QSL manager sending International mailings and you are in the United Kingdom then you may be interested to read that i can add you as a "poster" on my International mailing contract.
 
You do not need to be posting huge amounts of mail to benefit from international posting at discount prices.
At a time when every penny counts and budgets are tightly squeezed this could help your DXpedition financially.
 
Once registered you will be expected to separate the mail into two Zones, European Union countries and Rest of the World, all in alphabetical order. You will need a set of letter scales and a calculator.
 
All billing is done on line, once you have filled in the posting docket and taken the mail to the nearest mail centre you transfer the money to my bank on line.
 
If you you are interested to know more please contact me off line or call me on 07976 292980.
 
QSL Managers Available for Worldwide Teams
If you are looking for experienced QSL Manager services for your DXpedition? Then both Charles Wilmott M0OXO http://www.m0oxo.com and Tim Beaumont M0URX http://www.m0urx.com both have capacity for QSL manager work for DXpeditions and IOTA's for 2012 and 2013.
 
Features:
OQRS and Pay Pal facilities incorporated on both websites.
Fully supported for Bureau in, and outbound QSLing direct to World Bureaus.
Fast LoTW uploads.
All QSL printing taken care of.
Fast and efficient outgoing direct QSL mailings assured.
and much more...

If you need further information please contact us direct.

Bureau QSL Posting

5,762 QSL cards have now been packaged up to World Bureaus. These will all be posted on Friday 30th December.

Germany 1,097 - Russia 807 - Czeck Rep 430  - Poland 390 - Italy 281 - Belgium 273  - Netherlands 218,

The rest is made up with packages to:
Alaska, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Some may think that using the Bureau system is free, well I am sorry to say it is not free.This lot weighing 29.5 kgs just cost GBP £196.41 to post.

Wow, i have just calculated that during 2011, I have posted 27,316 QSL cards to World Bureaus.
Aprox' 200 letters ready to post on Wednesday, just waiting for New Year holidays to pass before posting.

Happy New Year from the Faroe Islands

27des11_142
In an email from OY1OF, Ólavur Frederiksen explains that he has been QRV as OY1OF/M in recent days working into North America.

Ólavur would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year.

Thanks for the photgraphs Ólavur I wish you all the best wishes for 2012.
28des11_VR01

Happy New Year 2012 from Tim, M0URX

QSL-M0URX-2

A Look Back at 2011

I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2012. As I have just had 4,800 Bureau cards arrive it is time to get some work done, but first I want to thank all at U.R QSL Bureau & DX Team for a great year! Thank you and Merry Christmas.
As we say goodbye to 2011 and look forward to what 2012 might bring us, it is time to reflect on the past 12 months, the good times and the bad and learn from our experiences and take this forward to the challenges ahead.

January - I said farewell to MW0JRX Oliver Bross, as he started a new life in Darwin Australia, Oliver had been the IT Guru that helped me bring the United Radio QSL Bureau to what it is today. With Oliver moving on it was time to search for someone to take the IT parts of the work here to provide the seemless continuation of the service that you, the DXer experience.

We welcomed “Association de Radio Amateur Sept-Iles Inc” to the UR Bureau with Steve VE2TKH the main operator at the club and throughout 2011 provided many stations with CQ Zone 2 on many new bands. Of course with so few operators in CQ Zone 2 Steve has been very busy and kept me working hard on the QSL requests.

February Bob 5B4AGN flew to the Pacific Ocean QRV as T88ZM & KH0/G3ZEM, while Olavur OY1OF was experiencing some spectaular Aurora Borealis over the Faroe Islands, sharing with us some of the beautiful photographs as the Aurora fluttered over the club house of the Faroe Islands Amateur Radio Club house.
5feb11_VR01 












 


                                                                                                                                                                            
Also in February VK8NSB Stuie Birkin was continuing to make headway on the plans for a major DXpedition to Timor-Leste later in the year. The DXpedition involved a lot of negotaiting with various people, from several countries and would provide us all with significant challenges in the months ahead.

February saw the 10,000th OQRS request in at the QSL office! Oliver MW0JRX had now settled in Darwin and had received his new call sign VK8DX and made several thousand QSOs in the coming months.
John 9M6XRO and Steve 9M6DXX operated from Palau Satang Besar, OC-165 in East Malaysia preceeded with a trip to Brunei where Murphy just lurked at every corner.

March John 9M6XRO managed to leave Murphy behind while John visited family in New Zealand QRV as ZL/GD3OOK from Waiheke Island OC-201.

March brings CQ-WPX Contest, always a busy time for all the United Radio Team, Steve 9M6DXX travelled once again to Sarawak and was QRV as 9M8Z, while the Strumble Head DX & Contest crew were operating as MW9W and MC0SHL from the clubhouse on the farm in Pembrokeshire.

As M0URX operating from home I made a long path contact on 10m SSB with 2 stations in Hawaii logging NH7O and AH6RR a distance of 28,476 km, was this a sign that the sun was beginning to wake up from several years of the quietest sunspot activity for 100 years?
9M6XRO John made another trip to Brunei adding a further 2,000 Qs to his log.

April was a bumper month for QSL work from the recent DXpedition activities from the United Radio Team.

April also was the date for the wedding of Prince William Windsor, second in line to the throne in the UK monarchy, to his long time girlfriend Catherine Middleton on the 29th April 2011. GR1VDP Chris was QRV on air during the time period 29th April 2011 and 9th May 2011 for the special callsign authorised by OFCOM.

May 9M6XRO John made yet another trip to Brunei, while Steve 9M6DXX had been working as editor for the RSGB IOTA Directory on the new edition that hit the shelves this month.

The DXpedition to Timor-Leste issued Press release number 3, the website went live as the team requested club sponsors and announced that the team had sourced generators and a charter boat to the destination of Atauro Island.

Announced this month by Max ON5UR (our QSL design and printer) was a DXpedition to Market Reef, the plans set the DXpedition sailing to the reef in August. 

June was a massive month for the UK based operators with Col MM0NDX and his team sailing to the Monach Isles EU-111 and St Kilda EU-059 this trip had seen some exhaustive communications with several bodies so that the team could operate from the top of St Kilda's high cliffs. This was achieved with great success and a log containing over 11,000 Qs from the two IOTA's.

Dudley & District Amateur Radio Society joined the United Radio DX Team with a trip to Isle of Skye EU-008, while the Strumble Head DX and Contest Group made their annual trip to Ramsey Island EU-124. All the activities this month were threatened by severe winds battering Great Britain for what seemed weeks, but just in time the seas calmed and the sun came out, in between some very squally storms. Sporadic E was great in June with MC0SHL working 400 Qs in a couple of hours on 6m.

M0URX Tim received news that the CQ DX Marathon had placed Tim in 2nd Place on the SSB Mode wth 283 points. A great achievment as Tim has a samll station from home with a G3TXQ Broadband Hexbeam antenna made by Anthony MW0JZE, no other antennas, just patience working every DXCC he could as and when time allowed.

2nd    M0URX 243 + 40 = 283 (73rd overall)
Then later in June at the Fredrichshaven show it was announced that M0URX had been placed joint third in a vote by DARC members for Outstanding QSL Service in the preceeding year. I was very honoured by this and appreciate the DARC members showing their appreciation for my work, thank you!

July P29CS Andy traveled to Vanuatu for a family holiday and found time to be QRV as YJ8A.

August OJ0UR was On Air from Market Reef EU-053 making 18,000 QSOs with excellent conditions to North America and Japan.
August also was the month that I introtuced the NEW OQRS service on the website, Software written and installed by Bernd DF3CB. Some 4,000 OQRS requests already received since the installation.

I welcomed James Thresher M0YOM to the U.R. Team as IT Manager in charge of keeping everything that you see here alive and 24/7, 365 days a year. A big responsibilty James! I appreciate your expertise.

Septmeber This month just blew me away! En route to Timor-Leste John 9M6XRO and Steve stayed in Bali OC-022 but due to bad local high noise floor only managed 52 Qs. While Ant MW0JZE & Tim M0URX boarded the Airbus A380 heading to Darwin Australia to meet up with the team members of 4W6A. Little did we know that while we were on board that aeroplane, the sun was erupting with the biggest sun spot activity seen in some years. I will never forget switching on the transceiver on 4W6A and making those first CQ calls "CQ CQ 4W6A listening 5 up" some of the team were outside still erecting antennas when i heard Steve say "Tim is working a massive pile up on 20m to North America" I shouted "MAKE THAT 10m!!!" At which point I heard a bundle of spanners falling to the floor as the team rushed in to the shack to see if i was really on 10m, I was, and for the next 10 days and nights the team worked relentlessly in the heat on shifts of 4 hours on 4 hours off.

4w6a-1045We expected conditons to be quiet during daylight hours but to our surpise the sun spots had reached record highs for Cycle 24 and day in, day out we were flat out, so much so that by day 9 and 10 we were all feeling the effects of just taking 3 or 4 hours sleep a day, or night, whenever you could grab a break in between shifts or antenna maintenance and generator refueling.

John and Bernd were heroes on CW, with the Titanex 160m vertical and 80m dipole, the Hexbeam gave us the extra band choices for a quick band change as we followed the sun from rise to fall. At one point I recall on 10m I had not noticed that after a generator refueling the Electraft KPA-500 was still OFF and I was working a pile up to Europe, North America and Japan on 10m with just 30 Watts. Conditions were awesome, just how lucky were we to time this expedition at a time when sun spot Cycle 24 really took off to conincide with the Equinox. We were working Long Path to Europe on 12m, and the same for much of the day on 20m, while 10m was mainly Short Path with huge signals. For me this was a huge experience working with a great team that had bonded well as a DXpedition. Thanks guys, I will never forget this trip. 41,362 Qs, just awesome! 

October This was a month of intense data processing as QSL requests were hitting me from every source, OQRS direct and bureau, and letters hitting the PO Box daily. 13,000 QSOs were processed on the 4W6A log this month for QSL.Thanks to Kev M0TNX as he tackled the incoming email enquiries and kept me sane as it would have been so easy to buckle under this workload. Coming home from an 8 hour shift at work to sit at the PC and do 6 - 8 hours every day hitting the log books and processing all the requests.

Band conditons were sizzling hot, 9M6XRO John was working pile ups daily on 10m and 12m, OY1OF Olavur & OY4TN Trygvi, hit the airwaves keeping the Faroe Islands active while VE2CSI was QRV too from CQ Zone 2 in Canada working the World. I have never seen QSL requests coming in so fast. I was also working much DX myself working T32C on 10m and E51 South Cook Island, Marqueases Island and French Polynesia just brilliant! M0OXO Charles has also been very important in helping me keep on top of things, travelling down from Barnsley to help with the OJ0UR QSL mailing. Charles and I are both QSL managers, working together to bring you guys the service that you demand. 

November & December 4W6A QSL cards arrived from the printer and soon after 2,800 letters were in the post.

So what will 2012 bring? Many of the United Radio Team are already working on a number of projects for the year ahead. Drop by the website and keep yourself up to date with our activities.

During 2011 United Radio QSL Bureau has paid the printing costs of 57,600 QSL cards for the stations managed.

Have a lovely Christmmas.

4W6A In The Post!

27112011059Since I returned home from the 4W6A Timor-Leste DXpedition work has continued, to process 14,000 QSO's through the log for QSL both Direct and through the Bureau. I am pleased to say that 2,810 direct letters will be posted on Monday 28th November also packages of QSL cards to our sponsors for members of GDXF, SDXF and DDXG.

Please remember that there are some QSO's lost between 17- 19 September. this was due to logging software bug. We are sorry if you have been affected. PLEASE check the log before you send or request the 4W6A QSL. 

1,804 Bureau QSL cards have been posted also, including:
Germany   175 QSL cards.
Italy          140 QSL cards.
Japan        536 QSL cards.
Russia      350 QSL cards.
Spain        157 QSL cards.
Ukraine     200 QSL cards.
USA         200 QSL cards.

New UV-Varnish QSL for DXpeditions &amp; Contest Teams

Here at the United Radio QSL Bureau we are proud to send out the highest quality QSL cards we can find. This doesn't just happen, it takes years of working together with QSL card designers and printers that are dedicated in providing me with the card quality I need to do my job as QSL manager for my clients, and for you the DX'er. 

Some high volume QSL card runs for DXpeditions and Contests Stations can be extremely expensive when you are talking about tens of thousands of cards. So i am proud to present a QSL card for the DXpedition and Contest Teams. 

ON5UR-PROMO-tim-2Max ON5UR Print Services has now developed the perfect High Quality Full Colour front and back QSL using 300gr card with UV-varnish front. Free design with no hidden costs 

  5,000 cards €210  
10,000 cards €360   Wow!

Plus shipping costs

Ask for samples & shipping costs and more information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In my next mailing next week i will be sending out 3,000 promo cards (image left) made from the new UV-varnish card. Hope you like them!

Order yours NOW! ON5UR QSL Print Services 

4W6A QSL Design

I am proud to be able to present to you the design of the four sided QSL card of the recent 4W6A DXpedition of Timor-Leste  OC-232.

4W6A DXpedition maybe over, but work continues to ensure that the QSL requests are processed. Currently over 33% of the log has now been processed for QSL either direct or bureau. Max ON5UR has now designed the QSL card that will be sent to all direct requests. Bureau requests will receive a two sided QSL card.

The QSL card shows the team in front of the 4W6A shack. On the back of the QSL card, team member Oliver stands on the beach front with the antennas behind him. Inside is the photo of the G3TXQ Broadband Hexbeam by MW0JZE at sunrise on Atauro Island.
QSL cards are expected to be posted out towards the end of November.

QSL-4W6A


QSL-4W6A-BACK


Logging Failure: There are some QSO's lost between 17- 19 September. this was due to logging software bug. We are sorry if you have been affected. PLEASE check the log on Club Log before you send or request the QSL. Missing QSOs will not be confirmed on QSL.

Log Book Control: Please make sure that when you request ANY QSL card that you mark your log as QSL SENT either Bureau Direct or OQRS. This is very important, i am receiving many QSL requests for direct using OQRS and PayPal, then a Bureau request and then 3 weeks later I receive for the same QSOs a letter with $2. This is not only a waste of your money but also delays my work in getting QSL cards out. Please control your logs. Thanks.

QSL cards posted

787 letters containing QSL cards from the August DXpedition OJ0UR Market Reef, and QSL cards from recent VE2CSI & 9M6XRO activity will be posted on Monday morning.

Bureau QSL cards have also been sent to the following Bureaus.

375 QSL cards to Japan
200 QSL cards to Germany
137 QSL cards to Italy

I am getting enquiries about the 4W6A QSL card. The QSL card is now being designed and will be delivered here late in November for posting. Currently 12,700 log entries have been processed for QSL which is 30% of the log.
IRC's (International Reply Coupons) For Sale.

4W6A FINAL PRESS RELEASE – October 24, 2011

The 4W6A DXpedition is now history. The team of Stuie, VK8NSB (team leader); Oliver, VK8DX; Bernd, VK2IA; Ant, MW0JZE; Tim, M0URX (also QSL manager); John, 9M6XRO; and Steve, 9M6DXX; plus pilot Col, MM0NDX, and assistant QSL manager Kev, M0TNX, would like to take this opportunity to thank all the DXers who made a QSO with 4W6A for their patience during the big pile-ups.

Copies of the licence and other validation material have been sent to both the DXCC desk and the RSGB IOTA Manager and 4W6A has been accepted for DXCC and as OC-232 for IOTA. Logs were uploaded to Logbook of The World a few days after the end of the DXpedition. QSL cards have been ordered and we are awaiting the final proof of the QSL design from the printer. As of 23 October, QSLs for over 11,000 QSOs – 27% of the total log – have already been requested either direct or by OQRS. And this less than a month after the end of the DXpedition!
These requests have already been processed and the direct QSLs will be sent as soon as the cards are received from the printers. Bureau cards requested by OQRS will be sent out soon afterwards, with direct mailings to the major QSL bureaus of the world.

A report on the DXpedition with a few photos and videos can be found at 4W6A Story  while 150 more photographs have been uploaded to www.4w6a.com/about-timor-leste/gallery.html More videos taken by VK8DX and MW0JZE can be found on YouTube - search “4W6A” and look for the videos uploaded by “mw0jze”.

Finally, we would once again like to publicly thank all the DX groups, companies and individuals that so generously sponsored this DXpedition. All are listed on the 4W6A website at www.4w6a.com/sponsors We look forward to seeing you from the next location – wherever that may be.

73,
Steve, 9M6DXX
4W6A Team Member

OJ0UR Market Reef QSL

The QSL for OJ0UR Market Reef has now arrived at the QSL office.
28th October 2011 - QSL cards will be posted within a few days.
All incoming OQRS Requests have now been processed.

QSL-OJ0URQSL-OJ0UR-BACK

THE 4W6A STORY

By Steve Telenius-Lowe, 9M6DXX (G4JVG, 4W6AA)

4w6a-374A 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

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 4w6a-774charge and are valid for one year.

LOCATION

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.

 4w6a-738
NOISE!

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

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.

4w6a-636SPONSORS

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. 

TABLES:

 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

 EQUIPMENT

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

ANTENNAS

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/Mode breakdown

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.)

Subcategories

Sunday the 9th. Web Design and Web Hosting.
Copyright 2014

©