MC0SHL - Ramsey Island 2Ø11; Trials & Tribulations

Written by Charles Wilmott M0OXO.
The Strumble Head team met at the Club House on Tuesday giving us time to test, prepare and pack the items needed for this year. As before, we always try to be more efficient and to take only the essential items to the island but also with consideration that we may have to stay longer than anticipated should the weather turn poor.

10062011055Sea and weather conditions were forecast to be very poor for the crossing on the Thursday morning but what a surprise to awake at 04:45 to see a beautiful morning on the Pembrokeshire Coast. The vehicles were loaded and we arrived at the Lifeboat Slipway around 07:30 where shortly afterwards the ‘Thousand Island Boat Charters’ arrived and we were on the Island by 08:00, amazing.

After heaving all the gear to the top of the ‘harbour’ we then had the massive climb to the top of the Island where we bunk in a Barn (complete with broody Chickens!). Carrying 2 x Acom 1000 Amplifiers, 2 x FT1000MPs and worst of all the Kenwood TL922 to the accommodation is always a huge challenge. Fortunately the RSPB Warden and his wife (Greg & Lisa) are very accommodating and helped us up the hill with the Quad and trailer for which we are always very grateful.

DSC_1619We got off to a good start and as always, no one sets their stations up until all antennas are fully up and we work together to achieve this. The 2 x G3TXQ Hexbeams (built by Ant MW0JZE) were the first up and then we worked on the Windom for 40 and 80M. Everything ran as a well oiled machine and shortly after lunch, all three antennas were up and we moved inside to set up the stations.

Around 15:30 local we had all three stations on air and were qrv from ‘IOTA EU-124 Ramsey Island’. Chris G1VDP started the Digi station on the Windom working 30M, Ant MW0JZE started up on 20 SSB and Tim M0URX worked 15m SSB. Pile ups were pretty fast, the World Flora Fauna reference helping to boost them as well ;-) .
Almost immediately the station used by Chris suffered a major problem when lights on the FT1000MP flashed and the dedicated PSU and TL922 also shutting down. Then worse to come was that dreaded smell – something was on fire. A subsequent check showed a hole on a transistor within the PSU and sadly totally  unrepairable for now at least. We were now down to two stations.

DSC_1845We worked very well and most stations had solid pile ups until late in the evening. Conditions weren’t brilliant and most of the traffic was from EU with Yuri A65CA from Asia and a few stations from North America. Tim had a good run into NA and also the Caribbean but again, conditions definitely down. We had over  1000 in the log and with the two stations we were happy at that.

The next morning we all woke early after a terrible storm kept most of us awake during the night and we got started. We worked early on 40M SSB and then 20M SSB using both Acoms and running 300/400 watts. Rob MW0RLJ and Charles M0OXO decided to take a boat to the mainland to take the faulty equipment back and to collect a spare rig to replace it. The guys continued to work well and on their return the qso count was 2500.

It became very obvious that conditions were giving us some Sporadic E propagation so they started pushing the higher bands (17, 12, 10 & 6) to give the Island IOTA to as many that required it. We had an amazing time, many stations commenting on how pleased they were to get EU-124 onto the new bands and in particular many ‘G’s that needed it as a new DXCC Band slot. Ant had been slogging away on 6M for a long time with a huge pile up and handed the Mic to Charles to continue. 6M continued to be very good and in total we finished with well over 396 qso's & 29 Countries on one run on 6m, the better one maybe CN in Morrocco? Before we left we set ourselves  a target of 4000q’s for the whole trip and by midnight we closed on 4035 q’s, amazing and very pleased but that was to be short lived.

Charles got up the following11062011078 morning (Day3) to find a problem. We had Voltage issues and it seemed the current was poor and not enough Amperage to run even the radio. We traced the problem to not just one but both our generators had gone down, who would believe that? The black cloud descended over us and we spiralled into depression. We worked several theories for several hours and eventually decided to run the spare ‘Robin’ generator only and to run 100w only. We never gave up the fight and tried many theories were explored over a pot of Porridge (thanks Jane!) and we came up with a plan! Greg (RSPB Warden) kindly offered to allow us yet another Generator which could give us 6Kva so the mood lightened and again, we weighed up our options over a chat until 0930………

Time moved on and by 1130 we were on air again. Conditions were ok and by 1.00pm we were running well as we approached 1300 and the beginning of the World Flora Fauna’ GreenDay’ event, We used all bands from 40m thro 10m and as we were using 12 & 17m, we were not in a ‘contest’ but just an ‘event’! All continued OK with runs predominantly into EU but with the odd DX station thrown in the mix. When 1500 came the bands just died with barely a trace of anyone on 20 thro 10m. In a few hours this eased and we pushed on on 20m, 17 and 40M. 40M was running very well with Chris on the Mic running 100w from the FT890 but only 20 and 17 really had any decent propagation to EU. As the evening moved along we had another good run with many JA stations on 20M and a few down into OC with VK. We closed at 0030, filled the generator and after a few hours stargazing we slept………but not well!

10062011042We were kept awake most of the night with the predicted ‘bad weather’. Sadly it was worse than expected. Torrential rain was hammering at the windows of the barn and roof and the wind was tremendous. First light at 04:00 saw 2 x Hexbeams both leaning to the side and getting buffeted by the very strong wind. There was little we could do, they were unusable in that state so after a chat (again over a bowl of porridge) we decided they needed to be taken down to prevent damage. We all donned our wet weather gear and got stuck in. Taking them down took 15 minutes for each Hexbeam with us all working on the same antenna at the same time before moving on to the other. It initially appeared that the fault was either the rotators not being up to the strain of the wind or the strain on the stub mast and clamps were too weak. Another thought for another day but they were all down and we left the Windom in place.

We spent the remainder of the morning inside the barn, we dismantled all the equipment and packed it away just leaving the Elekraft K3 and the Windom to use later in the afternoon with a view to making the few required qso’s which would give us 6000 log entries.

The afternoon was poor, but we worked through trying our best but pretty soon we ran out of time. We had the (now traditional) 'Party' looming with invited guests joining us for supper and a few drinks. By the time 7pm came we had 11 people for supper including Greg & Lisa, Nia, Mike & Nicola. We must not forget the now famous Border Collie 'Dewi', now a celebrity after his debut on the BBC's 'Countryfile'! After a lovely meal provided by Jane, we all had a few drinks (some more than others!) and spirits ;-) were high. Some of us were in a bit of a tacking by 0030, and with an empty bottle of Famous Grouse, one of Romiel and several bottles of red wine, we turned in for the night. At that point it seemed extremely unlikely that we would wake in 6 hours feeling well but Charles did and fired up the generator for a quick blast. Another 60 stations were logged on 40m which brought us to a final total of 6024 q's and the end of the 2011 trip. We got the gear down to the slip and from that point it took us 50 minutes to load the boat, do the crossing, unload at the Lifeboat Slip, carry the gear up to St. Justinians and to load the Van for the trip back to the farm.

DSC_1820It just leaves me with a few thoughts and thanks for the help we received this Year. Greg & Lisa Morgan (RSPB Wardens) were once again invaluable in help, planning, advice and in allowing us on the Island, two people who's performance, committment and drive is outstanding and a major asset to the RSPB. 'Thousand Island Expeditions' once more gave their personal service to us and were extremely kind, a service recommended by us. Mike Chant and his crew aboard the 'Gower Ranger' also pulled out the stops with their prompt and personal service. Good luck to Nia Stephens (Assistant RSPB Warden) in her future career and not forgetting Mike and Nicola who give their time as RSPB volunteers.


Finally a big thanks to all of you that worked us whilst on Ramsey Island. We were very pleased to give so many of you the new Band Slots, IOTA and WFF areas. I guess almost all stations on 6 meters would have been very pleased to get IO71hu in their logs so a good job all round. Some stations worked us on 7 band slots and many more with 6 contacts which was remarkable. Of course we wouldn't be without the odd negative comments either. Some made good points and others were well, just pathetic but all in all, a great trip to Ramsey in 2011.

Thanks to everyone from the Strumblehead DX Group; Rob MW0RLJ, Charles M0OXO, Tim M0URX, Chris G1VDP, Ant MW0JZE and of course Jane (our Support Staff ;-) ) who kept us fed with over 120 meals, doing this with 2 small gas rings on a Baby Belling stove and little facilities was a great & welcomed achievement!

73 de Charles Wilmott M0OXO

IOTA DXpeditions June 2011

During the month of June the United Radio QSL Bureau will have teams QRV from Scotland and Wales IOTA groups. Here are the details. Please follow my QSL information page VERY carefully please!

Please also be aware that for several weeks now high wind and gales have affected the Wales and Scotland coastline  and this could affect the IOTA operations below. Please check the website links for updated information.
For each of the IOTA's below will be a seperate QSL card, without the correct postal costs your QSL may be sent Via Bureau so please read my QSL information.


MS0RSD Isle of Skye EU-008
First off is the Dudley & District Amateur Radio Society IOTA week on the Isle of Skye EU-008 and QRV as MS0RSD, Simon M0VKY, Brian G0JKY, Drew G7DMO and Graham 2E0VPT will be activating the isle of skye in June 2011, 4th june to 11th June for 6 days.
Simon reports "we will be QRV on the HF bands mainly SSB and PSK31. Bands will be 80, 40, 20, 17, 15, 12 and 10 mtrs. we are also planning 2mtr SSB on the tuesday evening in the UKAC contest" Completed with 2,700 Q's

MC0SHL Ramsey Island EU-124
GW/IOTA EU-124 - The Strumblehead DX and Contest Group once again have the necessary permission to activate Ramsey Island (EU-124), off the West Wales coast, from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds who own the island. This year will be a little earlier and will not be in the IOTA contest.

The team will be active using the club call MC0SHL 9th - 13th June. All bands from 80M through to 10M SSB will be used and again some RTTY is planned by G1VDP and M0OXO if the other guys allow them using MC0SHL.

Once more the operation will be using generators as power, although there may be mains power if the project is complete by the RSPB. Again radios used will consist of 2 Elekraft K3's and a Yaesu FT2000 with Acom 1000 amplifiers. Antennas will consist of 2 x G3TXQ Hexbeams by ANT MW0JZE, 40M Vertical and 80M Vertical.

The activation is for the IOTA award and WFF award schemes. The team will be on from the farm for a few days before and after using  MC0SHL for the World Flora and Fauna award (see http://www.wff44.com for award details). We have a special QSL card printed for both the HQ at the farm and for Ramsey Island - QSL via M0URX - and will be uploading the logs to ARRL Logbook of the World when we get back on the mainland.

World Flora and Fauna Reference for Ramsey Island is GWFF-072 and for the Club house on the Pembrokeshire Coast (Farm) is GFF-015. Completed with 6,024 Q's

MS0INT/P Monach Isles EU-111
Again led by MM0NDX Col, the 2011 IOTA team includes EA3NT Christian, EA3OR Ramon, EA5KA Raul, EI6DX Stan, F4BKV Vincent and IZ7ATN Simon.

June 16: Depart Grimsay for Monach Isles, EU-111. Spend approx 24 hours on Monachs. Callsign: MS0INT/P.

Monach Isles are a small group of five low-lying Scottish islands lying about 4miles (6km) to the west of North Uist. They lie wild and exposed to the full force of the North Atlantic and experience gale-force winds on around 160 days of the year. The highest point of the islands is only 19 metres above sea level. This beautiful and remote location is home to a very special nature spectacle - 9000 Atlantic grey seal pups are born here every year. In progress "On Air Live".

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 (50MHz Trophy Contest included)

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.

OJ0UR Market Reef August 2011

Market-feb-07140The 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.
The team met together for the first meeting last week, the team discussed their travel plans, Max explains,

"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."

20.05.2011: Good news from Helsinki, Licence, Market Reef received.
The postman made my day. We received our official licence from the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority. Our requested call sign OJ0UR is approved.
Special thanks to Saija Lehtonen, Technical Secretary, for the help with our application.
24.05.2011: LoTW certificate has now been received. The log will be uploaded to LoTW as soon as I receive the log from the team.

The website is now live, for more information go to OJ0UR
Image above: Market Reef in February by Pekka Väisänen.
QSL Via M0URX

GR1VDP QSL

QSL-GR1VDPGR1VDP QSL card is now at the print shop and will be ready to post soon.
This is a special prefix issued by the UK licensing authority OFCOM to celebrate 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. The call sign was only on the air during the time period 29th April 2011 and 9th May 2011.

QSL designed by Max ON5UR
QSL Via M0URX

4W6A Timor-Leste DXpedition. Press Release 3

logo_-_atauro4_png
4W6A TIMOR-LESTE (EAST TIMOR) DXPEDITION SEPTEMBER 16 – 26, 2011
www.4w6a.com


PRESS RELEASE NUMBER 3 – May 11, 2011

Everything is on schedule for the 4W6A DXpedition. All the team members have now booked and paid for their air tickets from the UK, Malaysia and Australia to Dili, East Timor. A boat has been chartered to take the team and their equipment from Dili to Atauro Island, the site of the DXpedition, and back again. The accommodation on the island has been booked and the team members are now also booking their overnight transit stops in Bali, Darwin and Dili.

The DXpedition will be operating from generators which will be hired and picked up in Dili the day before the start of the operation. The generators have been booked and arrangements have been put in place for sufficient fuel to be transported to the island for our use whenever necessary.

It is hoped to be able to use an Internet connection on the island and, if this proves to be reliable, logs will be uploaded to Club Log and  Logbook of The World on a daily basis.

The team is very grateful to the LA DX Group, CDXC (Chiltern DX Club)- The UK DX Foundation, the Oceania Amateur Radio DX Group, and the Northern Ohio DX Association, who are the first four DX associations to have offered sponsorship to the 4W6A DXpedition. Thanks too go to Tony Burt, VK3TZ, of Rippletech Electronics , who is kindly loaning three monoband vertical antennas for use on the DXpedition. We are also very grateful to a growing number of individuals who have also made donations towards the cost of shipping equipment to East Timor, the boat charter, the hire of the generators and the cost of fuel. All sponsors 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 soon 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.

IOTA Directory NEW EDITION

IOTA_DirectoryEdited by Roger Balister, G3KMA and Steve Telenius-Lowe, 9M6DXX

Order your copy now!

The newly updated IOTA Directory is the essential guide to participating in the Islands on the Air (IOTA) award programme. This edition contains all the recent rule changes and island updates of this dynamic and exciting programme

The IOTA Directory is the complete, official listing of IOTA islands but is much more than just a simple list. A colour section contains fascinating reports of several IOTA operations from "Ulituqisalik Island" in the Arctic, through to the romantically named "Flint Island" in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Contesters will find the report and results of the 2010 IOTA Contest and details of the contest in 2011. There is much more besides with details of the latest IOTA Honour roll, Golden List, etc. The IOTA Directory provides everything you need to participate in IOTA, from lists of islands, grouped by continent, and indexed by prefix through to application forms and masses of information and advice for island hunters, award applicants and DXpeditioners alike.

If the simple act of collecting QSL cards from around the world hasn't appealed before. The multitude of islands and the fascinating IOTA programme laid out in this book will change your mind. The IOTA Directory is a must have if you are already involved or simply just interested.

VK8DX QSL

QSL-VK8DXThe new QSL card for VK8DX, Oliver Bross,  from the Northern Territory of Australia is now currently being designed. I am sorry for the delay in printing this QSL. Oliver has not long moved to NT, and Oliver is just settling into a new job, and managed to take some time out to do some photography recently for the new QSL card. I hope to have the QSL cards out in the post by mid May.
Oliver is one of the team members of the forthcoming 4W6A DXpedition to Atauro Island, East Timor in September 2011.

V85/9M6XRO QRV May

QSL-V85-9M6XROJohn 9M6XRO will again be QRV from Brunei Darussalam from the 4th - 9th of May.
Listen for John on CW mainly, but may also be active on RTTY or SSB.
John says that V85 does not have allocation for 6m band as they still have low band TV.
QSL cards are available Via M0URX. Please follow the correct route on my Direct & Bureau Instructions page.
LoTW will be uploaded after the activity, when i receive the log from John.
OQRS is available for Direct & Bureau QSL with PayPal facility too.

Bureau Cards Posting

I am starting to send out the Bureau QSL cards to the World Bureaus. The first dispatch will be posted on Thursday.

21/04/2011  Gross Weight       Total QSL
Germany       5.074 kg               1190
Japan            4.721 kg               1105
Russia          3.589 kg                 834 
Italy              1,616 kg                 404
Ukraine         1.560 kg                 372
Finland           .924 kg                 210
Spain            1.379 kg                328
France            .584 kg                132
Poland          1.190 kg                281
Sweden          .769 kg                178
Netherlands    .613 kg                140
Czech Rep     .827 kg                 206

A further 5 kg, 1,204 QSL cards posted to all other World Bureaus 23/04/2011

TOTAL        28 kg               6,584 QSL cards     Cost £183.46 GB£

My compliments to the Hungarian QSL Bureau. Excellent service as always. On 05/05/2011 i received the following email just 12 days after i sent the Bureau cards.
I received T88ZM QSL card via bureau. Bureau card three months after the QSO is ...hm.... very very fast!
Thank you for my new DXCC challenge point. Best regards, Alex, HA7UW

QSL's In The Post

I am pleased to report that 521 letters containing 1,665 QSL cards from the recent activities, 9M6XRO/8, 9M8Z/P, 9M8Z, KH0/G3ZEM, T88ZM, V85/9M8Z and V85/9M6XRO along with other QSL cards were posted today, 13th April. Some letters contained up to 11 different QSL card requests.

Bureau cards will be mailed out to World Bureaus in about 10 days time. I am still working through a box of 3,500 Bureau cards received recently. As soon as this is cleared all Bureau cards will be posted.

The UK government has slapped a 20% VAT charge on all letters to the European Union making QSL costs just that more expensive. This will not effect the $2 or 1 x IRC that i charge but will reduce the amount of money that I have available in which to sponsor DXpedition QSL cards in future.

No stamps are accepted as QSL postage, any received will be returned Via Bureau.

I would like to thank those who also contributed to the QSL printing costs, your kindness is very much appreciated by myself and the operators that I manage QSL cards for.

73 Tim M0URX

OQRS & Paypal


Due to the complexities of QSL managing 70+ call signs and many of you wishing to request multiple QSL cards it has been difficult to incorporate this with Paypal. Online QSL Request Form is for Bureau AND Direct QSL request.

For Direct: Then go to the Paypal Transfers and pay for the total amount of QSL cards that you have requested. I have tried to make this as simple as possible.

No Stamps!
Unfortunately I am still getting British stamps for QSL postage. I DO NOT accept stamps! Your QSL cards will be returned Via Bureau! I DO NOT USE stamps to post my mail! These stamps are useless to me.

4W6A Press Release

logo_-_atauro4_pngTIMOR-LESTE DXPEDITION PRESS RELEASE NUMBER 2:
CALLSIGN & WEBSITE ANNOUNCED



The September 2011 Timor-Leste DXpedition has now received its callsign - 4W6A - from ARCOM, the licensing authority in Dili. The team is very grateful to ARCOM for issuing this special one-letter callsign for use on the DXpedition.

The DXpedition has a website, at www.4w6a.com, which includes profilesof the team members,  propagation predictions and lots of information about Timor-Leste and Atauro Island, the location of the DXpedition.

Unfortunately, Franck, VK8FNCY, has had to withdraw from the DXpedition due to health reasons. His place has been taken by Tim, M0URX, and Ant, MW0JZE. Oliver, MW0JRX, is now resident in Darwin and has recently received his Australian callsign, VK8DX. The other team members remain Stuart, VK8NSB; Steve, 9M6DXX, and John, 9M6XRO. As the team now comprises six operators, we have increased the number of stations from three to four.

The group is requesting donations from DX clubs and individuals who wish to help, in order to cover the high cost of generator hire, fuel for the generators and the boat charter to and from the island. There is a "Donations" page on the 4W6A website. Payments may be made by credit or debit card (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 soon 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.

73, Steve, 9M6DXX (4W6A Team Member)

Weekend in Brunei By V85/9M6XRO

HF6V_View_3The XYL and I got back to KK yesterday evening just before dark. The actual distance by road is not that great but we have to go through 8 immigration checkpoints plus one river ferry crossing in EACH direction! That's 16 chops in your passport!

The band conditions were in and out but I was getting on for 2000 Q's in total including over 1200 on RTTY which was the mode I had targeted, as CW and SSB are pretty well catered for in Brunei. I only found very brief openings on 10m but 12m produced a bit more and on one night 20m surprisingly stayed open until after 3am local time with mostly North America coming through. Operating that late curtailed my early morning sessions though. I did not operate on 80m this time but made one QSO on Top Band with my friend Go, 9M6YBG, who needed Brunei on 160m. I did a bit of unplanned SSB in the CQ WPX Contest (65 Q's) but my call sign V85/9M6XRO did not exactly roll off the tongue and I took a long time getting it across on almost every contact, even when signals were S9! Still the stations I worked were glad of the multiplier once they did figure out where I was :-)

My XYL really enjoyed the trip and says she will be happy to go back before my visitor's license expires in May so "watch this space"...

I have attached a photo I took from atop the watertanks on the hotel roof so you can see that the HF6V had a great take-off in all directions. I was running my IC-7000 (I get to like this rig more and more each time I use it) into the IC-2KL Linear and a Daiwa CNW-419 ATU when required. 73 for now - John - 9M6XRO

M0URX CQ-WPX Weekend!

I have to admit I am not a contester, but I love to trawl through the bands and pick off the juicy DX that you find on such a fantastic contest as CQ-WPX. Propagation at the start of the weekend wasn’t anything special but  improved as the weekend went on. On Saturday evening on 21.392 MHz, Saskia, ZL2GQ was calling CQ from Hastings New Zealand, I was beaming Short Path which for me is over the North Pole, the signal from Saskia was weak but she was doing well into North America. I spotted her on the cluster expecting the hoards from Europe to work her, but nothing, no one from Europe was working ZL2GQ, I called and she heard me just fine. I listened for almost two hours.  

QSLM0URX - NH7O 28,476 km QSO 10m SSB.
When I woke in the morning it was just getting light outside, made my first cup of coffee of the morning and took it into the shack, I looked at the cluster to see what was happening, conditions were still FB. AH6RR Roland was spotted from Hawaii on 28.441 MHz, I checked on the short path, not a whisper, I turned the Hexbeam to the long path, really not expecting anything at all, but wow there was Roland on the long path, time to “Fire Up the Acom” those 3 minutes while you wait for the Svetlana to warm up can be the longest 3 minutes of your life! Roland gave me my first KH6 on 10m, wow a great start to the day, just a little down on 28.435 MHz was NH7O again on the long path, but no problems to work this one, another Hawaii station in the log! A distance of 17,694 Miles or 28,476 kilometres on 10m! Wow, to me that is simply awesome!
 

YL Contest op 11 Years old
On 15m KH0/KH7ERI had been calmly working in the contest all weekend, every time I tuned to 15m I could hear her signal. I checked the profile on QRZ.com and I see she is only 11 years old. This is great to see such a young person enjoying the competitive World of Radio contesting, and doing it so well too, not getting flustered by close in overload, just cracking away one after another in the log. Watch out guys Eri will be winning some major contests very soon! Well done Eri!
Photo - KH0/KH7ERI, Eri.By permission of Masa Shimizu, AH6KY, Eri's father.
Masa says that they are scheduled to go to KH2 and will be QRV for one day.

FRA AGM 2011

OY1A-OY3JEAt the annual board meeting for FRA (Faroese Radio Amateur) this year, OY1A Arne was elected as honorary member. This is for long service recognition, close to 35 years.

Arne was on the board of FRA, editor of the club magazine OY-arin, taking care of communication with IARU, NRAU, FSE (local Telecommunication Authority)

Arne is 89, and is looking for someone to replace him for the duty of IARU, NRAU and FSE which he still is taking care of.

Even though this is the 47th board meeting, this is honorary member #1 elected at FRA.

Thank you to OY4TN Trygvi Nysted for this report and photo.

Photo: OY3JE Jan, president of FRA handing the diploma to OY1A Arne, together with a good bottle of wine and free life time membership.

 

DX Activity

V85/9M6XRO
9M6XRO, John, will be QRV as V85/9M6XRO Brunei from the 23rd to 27th March 2011.

9M8Z
9M6DXX, Steve,  will be active in the CQ-WPX contest with some activty before, QRV as 9M8Z, Sarawak, East Malaysia.

MC0SHL & MW9W
Strumble Head DX & Contest Group, will be on air from 23rd until 27th March also, and in CQ-WPX as MW9W Wales.

UK Scout Contest Team, M0XXT will be having a maintenance day at the shack but will also be active for a short while as M0XXT & M9X over the CQ-WPX weekend.

For QSL Info please follow the link as usual. NO QSL cards are required through the Bureau for the above activities.
Save Bureau costs. Request it DON'T send it!

Latest QSL Designs

The QSL designs for the recent DXpeditions are coming on well. Cards will be printed very soon.
9M6XRO/8 & 9M8Z/P Pulau Satang Besar IOTA OC-165 - KH0/G3ZEM Northern Mariana Is OC-086 - T88ZM Palau OC-009 - V85/9M6XRO & V85/9M8Z Brunei Darussalam & ZL/GD3OOK Waiheke Island OC-201.


QSL-9M6XRO-8QSL-9M8Z-PORTABLE














QSL-KH0-G3ZEMQSL-T88ZM














QSL-V85-9M6XROQSL-V85-9M8Z















QSL-ZL-GD3OOK

ZL/GD3OOK IOTA OC-201 Report

50_Bay_RoadQTH: Ostend, Waiheke Island. Loc: RF73MF

Delayed Start
I had a delayed start due to an oversight on my part. I didn't know that ZL uses a different type mains plug from Malaysia and the U.K. so when I set up my rig I could not plug anything in! It was next day before I could find an adaptor on the island and get powered up, so I caught up on my rest the first night on OC-201. If anything, the bands in ZL are even quiter than in Borneo during daylight hours so once I had mains power I had to twiddle my thumbs waiting for the bands to open. Waiheke is a beautiful island and I thoroughly enjoyed walking and taking in the scenery when the bands were dead.

Solar Disturbances
All's well that ends well they say and I ended up with 1275 Q's which I am quite happy with especially after getting back to the mainland and discovering there were solar flares and disturbances during my brief operation. I decided to go for 20m SSB the last night but a flare had taken the band out completely! Still, particularly pleasing were comments like "big signal" from the U.S. East Coast and S9+ on the DX Cluster from Europe since my antenna was a simple W3EDP 84 ft long slung over a tree in an inverted vee configuration, with a maximum height of around 35 ft, and a single 17 ft long radial. The rig was a mixture of old and new - an IC-7000 driving a 30+ year old Loudenboomer linear (using four TV sweep tubes, remember them?) to about 300 watts. The antenna was made from very thin copper wire salvaged from old TV tube focus coils, and fed through a Daiwa ATU which matched it up on all bands from 80-10m although neither 10 or 12m showed any sign of life with precious little on 15m either come to that.

I have attached a photo of the "Bach" I stayed in - quite a contrast to the accommodation recently on Pulau Satang Besar OC-165. It was luxury by comparison!

Log is now on the online log search. LoTW will be uploaded on Monday. QSL card will be designed very soon.

Waiheke Island IOTA Ref: OC-201

Waiheke-Island-MapA planned short operation by John 9M6XRO, as ZL/GD3OOK from Waiheke Island OC-201 New Zealand,between March 7th to 11th using a linear and wire antennas.

QSL Direct via M0URX and LoTW.
Bureau by OQRS Only!

Please do NOT send your card Via Bureau. ONLY use OQRS. Thank you.
If you do send Via Bureau it MUST have QSL Via M0URX clearly marked.

9M8Z/P & 9M6XRO/8 Setang Besar Island Report

P1040615John, 9M6XRO, and I got back home just after dark on 3 March after a nearly 3000km round-trip - Borneo is a BIG island. That's about 1km of driving for every QSO made!

Murphy
Murphy was very much with us on this trip. The first casualty (not serious) was my watch, the nearly new battery of which failed between Brunei and Kuching. Then my digital camera, which had worked perfectly the day before we left, also failed. John's wife had his camera and he was relying on me to take all the photos, so that was mini disaster number 1. Fortunately we had three local hams from KK with us, and two of them had cameras. They flew to Kuching and we met up with them there and we went out to the island together. They did not want to do any operating, just came along for the experience. (Photo above: 9M8Z/P Steve & 9M6XRO/8 John, on Setang Besar Island. Photo by 9M6GY Godfrey)

Bad Weather
We were lucky with the weather both on the trip out to the island and the way back, which was pretty calm and clear in both directions. The weather on the island was appalling, though. We had more than 24 hours of rain - not just drizzle, but a continuous tropical downpour. It was windy too, so the rain was blowing in to the shack, which had no door and mainly open windows. Add to this a couple of thunderstorms. I was amazed how cold it could be only 1 degree from the equator! All our clothes, everything, were cold and damp for pretty much the whole time we were on the island.

Hill Blocks Europe!
Conditions were poor too. One problem was that because we wanted to operate two stations we had the two antennas as far apart as possible. I had bought a 100-yard length of RG58 coax the last time I was in Singapore, and we used this for the Butternut HF6V, with a short additional length joined on so that it could be put up on the beach. However, the line loss on this length of cable was so great that our signal was well down. This coupled with a nearly 1000ft high hill immediately behind the antennas in the direction of Europe meant our signal was not as good as it should have been. The hill is in the worst possible direction for working EU. On the first day, though, I did have a good run working Europe on the long path on 20m, so we were getting out reasonably well towards the south. The VKs and ZLs were loud too, but there aren't that many of them.

Generators
Another problem was the generators. We had been told there were three 3kVA diesel generators on the island. This was my main concern before the trip but we had received messages from the island owner that the generators had been maintained and were OK. When we arrived we found there were only two working - not a problem, two 3kVA generators should be ample for what we wanted to run. Initially we tried to run both stations off one generator but this proved impossible - every time John transmitted my linear tripped out. OK: plan B was to run one station off one generator and the second station off the other generator. Neither generator was regulated so whenever a load was put on, the voltage dropped dramatically. The solution was to increase the volts to around 270V off load so that when on load the volts would be around 220V. This worked OK for a while but then my MFJ switch mode power supply blew up - too high input voltage!

One Station QRV
From this point on (the second morning) we were down to one station only, and we were careful not to put too high a voltage to that one. This meant the power output, which should have been around 500W from John's IC-2KL, was generally only around 250 or 300W at most and at times far less.

One positive effect of this, though, was that because we now only had one station, on the last day we moved the Butternut to a location much closer to the other antenna, using a much shorter length of feeder, and this definitely seemed to make a difference - signals were now better.

One other minor equipment problem was the spindle in one of the fans in John's IC-2KL had become loose, causing it to rub against the PA compartment, making a nasty grinding noise. We operated the whole time in Brunei on the return journey with it sounding like this. Fortunately the fan was still working, so there was no danger of the amp overheating as a result.

So that's it: a trip with Murphy very much in attendance. I was very disappointed by the number of QSOs made. V85 was OK, though we were only on for a few hours on each occasion. On the island I spent a lot of time calling CQ and not getting replies; a combination of poor conditions, the screening effect of the big hill and the attenuation on the long run of coax.

Thank you to 9M6DXX / 9M8Z Steve Telenius-Lowe for the above report. QSL cards will be designed soon.

9M6XRO/8 (CW) and 9M8Z/P (SSB)

satbesarIOTA Ref: OC-165 Pulau Satang Besar,

John, 9M6XRO, and Steve, 9M6DXX, will operate as 9M6XRO/8 (CW) and 9M8Z/P (SSB) respectively from Pulau Satang Besar, OC-165, from 25 February until early GMT on 28 February 2011,

Using two stations with linear amplifiers to a Hexbeam and verticals located on the ocean.QSL

Both 9M6XRO/8 and 9M8Z/P via M0URX, direct or Via the bureau, or LoTW. Alternatively, QSLs may be requested using M0URX’s OQRS

BRUNEI, V85
John, 9M6XRO, and Steve, 9M6DXX, will operate from Brunei, V85 (IOTA OC-088), for 2 days, on 22 February and 2 March, while travelling to and from OC-165 (see above). Callsigns are V85/9M6XRO and V85/9M8Z. QSL

Both callsigns QSL via M0URX, direct  or Via the bureau, or LoTW. Alternatively, QSLs may be requested using M0URX’s OQRS

LATEST NEWS 22/02/2011 - Steve informs me that due to high S9 noise floor that there will be no 160m activity tonight from V85/9M6XRO.
LATEST NEWS 27/02/2011 - One PSU has blown. Down to one station QRV.

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